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MKIOCOPr aBOUITION TIST CHART 

(ANSI and ISO TEST CHAIIT No. 2) 




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SWORD AND DRAGON 



BV TUB SAME AVTHOR 

Tales ol WMttni Ul« 

The Ralfi ol the Oune 

RottenmH: A Study ol Anerlca 
ud EalUad 

The Arctic Nlfht 

The Blacklvard 

A Froatlerimu (AatoUo|raphy) 

Carl) 

Editor of 
The Froatieriauu'i Pecket-Book 



Sword and Dragon 



ROGER POCOC: 



HODDER AND STOUGHTON 
PUBLISHERS LONDON 






Prinlii 1» 1I6MIX. 
luutd jirmtouiy undtr llu litU d/ " THE DRAOOB SLAYSR." 



880476 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I 



Prologue 



CHAPTER n 
Enter Two Vagrants 

CHAPTER III 
Enter a Princess 



CHAPTER IV 
Enter the Great Philanthropist . 

CHAPTER V 
The Fighting Editorship 

CHAPTER VI 
Enter the Late Fightiijg Editor 

CHAPTER VII 
As regards Dynamite 



CHAPTER VIII 



Enter the Priest 



I 



13 



28 



34 



40 



50 



vi CONTENTS 

CHAPTER IX 
A FiRKBUO Woman jg 

CHAPTER X 
Am Akciekt Reprobate jj 

CHAPTER XI 
The Price of Admiralty 80 

CHAPTER XII 
Two Ways of Love 84 

CHAPTER XIII 
The King's Bequest 93 

CHAPTER XIV 
A Power behind the Throne 102 

CHAPTER XV 
Chains ug 

CHAPTER XVI 
The Siege Perilous 122 

CHAPTER XVII 
The Dragon Awakes 128 

CHAPTER XVIII 
Treachery ,,5 



CONTENTS vii 

CHAPTER XIX 

The Drawing of the Sword . '**? 

140 

CHAPTER XX 
The Dragon's Shadow .... 

CHAPTER XXI 

I First Blood 

>S9 

CHAPTER XXII 
I 'The Blade of the Sword' .... 164 

CHAPTER XXIII 

IThe First Revelation . . 

■ • • . . . 170 

CHAPTER XXIV 

The Second Revelation . . .0 

■ 103 

CHAPTER XXV 

The Third Revelation . 

193 

CHAPTER XXVI 
The Plan of Campaign jo, 

CHAPTER XXVII 
The Horrors of War j,g 



via 



MOBIUZING . 



CONTENTS 
CHAPTER XXVIII 



CHAPTER XXIX 
Thb Dragon at Play 

CHAPTER XXX 
The Dragon's Victory 

CHAPTER XXXI 
On the High Seas .... 

CHAPTER XXXII 
Cleared for Action. 

CHAPTER XXXIII 
Versus the Civilized World . 

CHAPTER XXXIV 
The Song of the Knights 

CHAPTER XXXV 
The Arming of Brand Haraldson 

CHAPTER XXXVI 
The Last Great Battle ... 

CHAPTER XXX' 'I 
An Upper Chamber . 



rAOB 

134 



230 



240 



249 



»S7 



265 



277 



287 



292 



306 



CHAPTER I 

PROLOGUE 

" Lay him here," said the Railroad Magnate. At that 
the conductor protested. -f^i mat 

"He ain't due to make your bed any cleaner." 
^^_ The sheets w.U wasl. Now heave-very gently- 

blood, against snowy linen. Throwing up the blind 
from a wmdow the President let the glofy of the sunrise 
into the compartment, and by that light studied the 

CT 't'^ "■'= *"° ''^'" -^-"t^ stood back 
breathmg hard, one wiping the sweat from his face 

gas^S ''°""^'*"' ^^^'" " ^""'^ *^° hundred," he 

The lad lay dreaming in that golden sunrise of a 

wo^!d where there seemed to be no pain. As the train 

awake. h,s bram took note of the rumble of a culvert, 

he swmg of a curve. "The five-mile tangent" he 

thought • we're nearing Revolversburg. We'll turn her 

mi'pT *' '°""^-'>°-.*- to'the railrold hot:i 

up^aUheToSuctS. °" ''' '''' °^ '^''^ "-' ^^' '^^^^'^ 

I "oZhnnrfh"' i'^r" ""^^ '^"P^tched," he said sharply 
I one hour ahead of mine from Blunt ? " 



2 PROLOGUE 

Balancing against tlie motion of the cur the conductor 
gnawed at the tobacco which bulged his lean cheek 
"Yes, sir." 

•;Did you know why a pilot was sent ahead of my 
tram ? " ' 

"Wall," the conductor drawled, "rock-slides ain't 
healthy, bush-fires is pizen, and " 

"Did you expect wreckers? " 

"You ain't been a whole lot popular, Mr. Gault." 

"Would the men of this Division expect the Presi- 
dent of the Road to order a pilot ? " 

"We reckon that flies don't exactly browse on our 
President." 

" Would railroad men of any Division or Line try to 
involve you, and that poor engineer, and this fireman, or 
the crew of this train in an attempt upon my life ? " 

" Wall, I guess that skunks of sorts has reckoned to 
murder you some, and he wasn't no tenderfoot who fixed 
them rails." 

Conductor, I want this matter clear. I can't believe 
that any railroad man wanting to murder me would risk 
the lives of his own comrades." 
"That's a fact." 

"And yet you say this wrecker was a practical rail- 
road man ? " 

" He surely was. He knew his business so well that 
he was able to carry out the job single-handed. And, 
Mr. Gault, he didn't yearn to have witnesses around! 
No, this guy was practical, and a dam' smart man." 
"Now I understand," said the President, "that with- 
out the slightest warning your engine came to a point 
on the Cape Horn Curve where the rails had been cut 
and pointed straight out over Grizzly Creek. The train 
must have made a straight leap into space, rolling over 
in the air." 



PROLOGUE 



3 



" You air correct, sir." 

"When you came to your senses you were lyine in 
the creek?" " 

"The cold would have waked a corpse." 

" And you lay half conscious." 

" Waking up gradual." 

" How far were you from the wrecked train ? " 

"A car-length. On the nigh side I could just make 
out this here brakesman caught at the feet by a brake- 
I beam." 

"His name?" 

" Haraldson— young Brand Haraldson." 

" What else could you see ? " 

"The lights of your train. It looked like a snake 

wnthmg down the loops from the Pass. Haraldson seen 

It too. He was moving around. I seen him strike a 

I match. Then he got some waste from his pocket, set it 

lahght, put it on the brake-beam which pinned his feet 

I to the ground, and began piling on kindlings and sticks 

II knew the boy would make good. That light would 
I warn your train." 

"But the risk?" 

" He was burning himself to death. I seen him lie 
I on his back, his arms reached out " 

" Making the figure of the Cross I " 

"I reckon. The lad's face was turned towards the 
Pass, and I seen the light of the fire glint on his eyes 
I until he put up his hands to stave off the heat" 
I "Goon," said the President, who held the brakesman's 
I hand. 

" It was then I seen the wrecker : a young, stout, fair 
I man but his head was turned away, and I saw no face. 
He had sprung sudden out of the dark into the glare. 
I He was beating out the flames." 
" To save the lad ? " 



4 PROLOGUE 

"No, sir; to put out the signal so that your train 
would be piled on top of outs. Then Haraldson tried 
to stop him. and the wrecker swung a burning log to 
beat out the youngster's brains." 
"While you lay still I" 

"Not much! I'd pulled myself together by that 
time, staggered to my feet, climbed the bank, and rushed 
worth" ^*" ** *''"' w«eker. He ran for all he was 
" What happened next ? " 

" Why, the next thing I knew your train hands were 
tlirowmg water over me." 

;i was there." said the President. "We found you 
lying on Haraldson's body, and a hard time we had to 
pull away the burning wreckage before it was too late " 

"You understand, Mr. Gault, that this youngster '-" 

" Gave his body to the flames." 
" He threw away his life to save your life, sir." 
Brand opened »-=s eyes. "And that's a lie,"' he mut- 
tered. " I signalled to save the train hands. Old Gault 
can go to hell I " 

The President leaned forward, grasping the boy's 
rough hand in both his own. 

"Rest, my dear lad," he whispered. "We'll soon 
have a doctor for you. Sleep, my dear lad, sleep." 

Brand lay back exhausted, and presently, as though 
in a dream heard a deep voice speaking: "Hilda do 
you hear, child ? It's only heroes who tell all the tru'th." 

Then m the dream Brand felt something fluttering 
near him, heard a little sob, and saw a young giri bend- 
■ng over him, her face full of pity, her eyes glittering 
with tears. But his brain measured the pulse of the 
rollmg train, the jolts at the rail-lengths, the metre of 
the grade running onward and onward into silence 



CHAPTER II 

ENTER TWO VAGRANTS 

" It is four o'clock, I hear the faint rustling of the 

ivings of dawn— and it's dam" cold. The orb of day 

kir, forsakes the Old World, leaving it to wallow in the 

tloom of monarchical tyranny, that it may shed its 

►adiance upon this glorious hemisphere of freedom " 

So rhapsodized the seediest of all tramps as he 

ferawled feebly on to an empty packing-box against the 

rail of a shed. He seemed the more an object of 

fompassion because his was a frock-coat that had 

ecome green with age, a fashionable top-hat which was 

hasqueradmg as a smashed accordion. His trousers 

►ere such as could never have foreseen the evil day 

►hen they would be belted with a yard or so of dirty 

frmp-w:ck. his boots must have been invalided and put 

•ut to grass when he adopted them; yet the man's 

■eanng made a forlorn protest of respectability which 

ven the foulest linen could not quite repudiate. He 

ras weak with prolonged starvation, his jaws were 

►ugh with grey bristles, his alert eyes sunken away in 

Mows of tragic depth; yet the face was of lionlike 

►ugh when It would be a relief to die 

L o!.rl'"'..f !!"""''*^' ''"^ng'ng himself the while on 
tL V .' "* *''* P^^«re of introducing you to 

few York, metropolis of a republican paradise, bounded 
5 



6 ENTER TWO VAGRANTS 

on the east by Feudal Ruin, on the west by the 
Slough of the Orient, on the south by the Tropic of 
Cancer, on the north by the Aurora Borealis. Behold, 
Mr. Brand Haraldson, the zinc cornices of the future 
capital of this planet, the chosen home of the eagle 
Freedom, head-quarters of the Trusts, of representative 
misgovemment, of the Tammany gang. Corrupt, you 
say? Rotten ? Sir, it is Amurrican." 

The tramp was shaken with prolonged coughing ; he 
shivered miserably, but still must needs make valiant 
attempts to cheer hfs companion in disaster. 

"We are not welcomed with the customary brass 
bands, the procession of free-born citizens, the cham- 
pagne lunch ; we are not pestered with interviewers ; we 
have arrived from the Far West without trespassing upon 
Eastern hospitality ; we have made our entry incognito, 
riding on the humble insecurity of the brake-beam, and 
now you look as glum as a forecastle parrot in a den of 
deacons." 

"Shut up," said Brand, roughly. "Here, you're 
shivering; take this." He wrenched off his tattered 
pilot jacket, which he spread with womanly tenderness 
over the other's knees. "Now, Colonel, don't be a 
fool." 

"Sir," said the Colonel, " I am greatly obliged to you. 
And now. Brand, since I'm too cold to sleep, I will 
harrow up thy young soul with tales of impecuniosity 
and abortive vengeance. Do you know why I went to 
Revolversburg ? " 

Haraldson paid not the slightest attention, for he had 
turned his back upon the broken man, to gaze at the 
towering roofs of the metropolis that rose up stark 
against the dawn. Down und.,/ the quay the ebb tide 
was murmuring among the piles, long lines of lamps 
reached away along the water-front into the river mists, 



ENTER TWO VAGRANTS 7 

the wintry air was still with a great silence, broken only 
by the swirl of the river and the Colonel's maundering 
voice. 

"Ten years ago, a certain Railroad King was crossing 
the Rocky Mountains in his private car— r <w, I guess 
you ain't honouring me with your attention, but you 
shall presently, by thunder! — and the name of that 
aforesaid plutocrat was Michael Gault." 

" What's that ? " said Brand, turning sharply. 

The Colonel chuckled. " Now, if that particular 
capitalist had been allowed his own way, he wouldn't 
have permitted a pilot train to he hauled out of bed to 
see his track clear, in which event the recording angel 
might have been called upon to ' write off' one plutocrat. 
It was the division superintendent who despatched the 
pilot engine, with a caboose for ballast, and orders to 
look out for the usual natural amenities of mountain 
travel, such as rock-slides, wash-outs, and bush-fires. 
There was a little unexpected hitch, the pilot went to 
kingdom come, and the plutocrat would have followed, 
but that a young fool of a fireman set the wreckage 
alight by way of a signal. Now the young fool afore- 
said, who nearly burned himself to death to save Dives, 
was one Brand Ha " 

" That's enough," said Haraldson ; " it's no business of 
yours." 

" Young man, it's so much my business that I have 
just been to the Rocky Mountains to make enquiries." 

"And that's whyyou thrust yourself into my company?" 

" You air correct." 

" What do you want to know ? " 

" Young man, that enterprising ego-maniac, who tried 
to murder Michael Gault, is now one of the leading men 
of New York City." 

"Well?" 



ENTER TWO VAGRANTS 



" What— Doctor ciew.ton t " 

But the ColonXKd '„ rV^'S' l^H 
paroxysm of coughing "Show you-Rcx c,t.t„ , » 

««. that nobody Has^vcr .IrL aewstrfr;e"tf 

modesty of your demands <^h^l t ' "*■""'' *''* 
" Then " Mid Br!r/ ♦ • • *'°" ^" Clewston I » 

can you'kno'wlSjlm ;-'"" '"''''"•"'*'>' '^y- " -"« 
"Know I know, sir! I wa< ••n»ti - r 

u;t!ji;i drte o^^efs'"" -r-^ •>- - 

because a bureau witho.^f ! .***^ '^^^ reference; 

ape without a ul u fbel'S^late t '\^"""t''"^ 
pervade the branches of tL l„ *■ ' ^''""""'^'^ *° 
one bureau can pr^ ° « Jh, "7'"'^^" *'•*• 2"' "° 
criminals, or trot^o^The skele'^otT' °' '" '"'°'^" 
Coset; so that while tS VeSe" ^^^rwTreX^ 



ENTER TWO VAGRANTS 9 

ufuaily iWpped out for foreign part.. Coniequently 

Shf I « I '^ ''"''"*"* 'y'*"^ «" New York 
tify. I wu also connected by telegraph with all the 

Se'd :r*o? *"' f"'?" -rid;Vthat /fion 
wisned news of an American swindler, we eot the 

ntroHf t'heT '!!?" J"^"!""'^' «"«1 char^d^^cU'd! 
ingly or if the New York police must have facts which 

I riT.- *'"«'"''"*'■ "" ""'"'^'' """""B th« other pSlte 

n«^r ck,^ If'* t.me to think about it. Our office 
never closed. If work had to be done in New York 
for other cities, we rrenerally got the con^ractTanfff 
anything important passed through our exchanc" we 

Ik!,T T''**^'""' a" the detective offices in the world 
Ibecame branches of Clewston's Bureau." 

labolKm"'.- ^'■''"' '■""'"=""">'• "'■' "" -""gh to 

"Sir. do you suppose we wanted to abolish crime? 

3o you imagine that police and detective, L £ 

n" oa^ryTT'* 'T'"^ *° "'^'«' themselves un' 

SevZlnt^f "*/"™' y°""8 ">*"' » the last 

bank thTblnlf "«"'="""«• ^ '■°°' '=='*»^'" P'""ders a 
Dank, the bank pays to have him pursued- then he i« 
fcaptured by a detective, and milked like a cow or eU 

Cs«ce for h'"'' f ""'^'' '"'■^''^'^ '"'^ the hand 'of 
|ust.ce, for honesty ,s the best policy of all besides 

iSunS. T'r,.°'^=\''^*"^"« *« plunder to the 
pundered an ordmary American detective eets th^ 

-nd ouHf '■ «"' ''''^'"'" '"°- «™ enough 
s^nd out Its officers to rustle on commission. A 



10 



ENTER TWO VAGRANTS 



Clewston detective knows that Clewston wants seventy 
per cent of the spoil— and Clewston gets it Profit- 
able? Oh, that's only a drop in the Clewston bucket; 
because an American doesn't run the detective business 
for his health. Blackmail, sir, is the tribute which Vice 
pays to Knowledge ; and yet they say that Vice doesn't 
pay I My dear young friend, Vice pays rather than get 
Itself Ulked about— Vice pays through the nose; or 
who would believe in its kid gloves of virtue, its frock- 
coat of respectability, its silk hat of self-righteousness? 
Vice pays seventy per cent, of its plunder to stay out 
of gaol, twenty-five per cent to keep up appearances. 
Vice is a fooll And I, sir— who gave Clewston his 
exchange, who organized his record office, who con- 
tributed more than any other man to his enormous 
power— I— look at what I am— an outcast, a tramp, a 
pariah I " 

The wretched man threw aside Brand's coat, scrambled 
down off the packing-case, and waved his long bony 
arms in frantic gesticulation. "Give me proof!" he 
wailed. " You're the only man who saw him at his 
devilish work ! Give me proof of Clewston's identity 
as the wrecker of trains, the bungling assassin— give me 
the one proof, Haraldson, that it was his face you saw 
in the flames that night, and I will tear him down! 
I'll crush his jaws under my heel ! I'll grind him to 
powder! Proof, I say! Proof! Proof!" 

"Meanwhile," said Brand, " that's a coffee-stand start- 
ing up at the dock gates, and I made five cents last night 
by holding a horse. Stay here." Brand left his friend 
sunk in a sort of stupor, and groped his way among the 
railw^V^ sidings to the stall by the dock gates, where he 
bought some bread. On his return, after a.-, absence of 
five minutes, he found a policeman hoisting the Colonel 
off his packing-case by the scruff of the neck. 



!, 



ENTER TWO VAGRANTS 



II 



about in surprise, but he 



" Let go," said Brand. 
Tlje constable turned 
let go. 

"Now," said Brand, "you'll find a coflTee fakir trading 
by the dock gates, and you'll get more out of him than 
you will from us." 

The policeman looked at the loom of Brand's huge 
body against the dawn light ; he cast an uneasy glance 
at the river behind him. 

" Be jabers ! " he blustered, " I've a mind to arrist the 
both of yez." Then he swaggered away to blackmail 
the coffee fakir. 

"Brand," quavered the Colonel, "our city police 
would puzzle any biologist, but you've studied natural 
history some." 

" Here's your share of the bread." Brand handed his 
five-cent roll to the Colonel, then turned away, making 
dumb show as though he gnawed at some imaginary 
crust. He could hear his friei.^ behind him eating 
ravenously. 

'You're a slow feeder," he growled; "I've almost 
finished mine." 

" Bread must be cheap now," mumbled the Colonel. 
"You got good weight for your money." 

" That's so," said Brand heartily, drawing his belt in an 
inch ; " I've had to loosen my belt Say," he continued, 
" I'm going to leave you at sunrise. I have business to 
do in this place, work that will keep me all day, and by 
to-night I shall have money for both of us. Where 
shall I find you. Colonel ? " 

But the Colonel reached out his hands, and plucked 
feebly at Brand's sleeve. " Don't leave me," he pleaded • 
" don't desert me ! " 

For a moment he sat limp and helpless, his hands 
fallen at his sides, his eyes closed. Presently he felt the 



13 



ENTER TWO VAGRANTS 



cn.st.er ha f of the roll, wh.ch he had set down as too 
hard for his teeth; his fingers closed upon U^e li£ 
one eyeluJ and saw Brand's back tume^upon Wm ^1^ 
hS^on'e^^r l!"l? '" °"". *^" PO<=ketS alToUd 

"Br,^j i'_ »""""• leant bear It, he quavered 

Brand, Im an old man now; I've no more fight leftTn 

tTe;-lfr''°" "i!'/"'^ ■"■='■ '"■' ^P'- will fXj me 
they 11 drag me before him; Lc knows everything he 
has no mercy and Tm doomed. Doomed ! Don^t 'you 
hear, man ? Doomed ! " ' 

"What have you done? " said Brand, harshly • "what 
makes you afraid of Clewston?" 
doL°°""The°„°"'" ^\'"°-^d; "what haven't I 

yourSoTa™' ^'"*'" ^^■'' ='^"'^' "-'^ y-'" -^o 
"You're right, young man; you're right Sav" !,» 

The day was breaking now, the city rose in Him 

a wTh: Sbf ; "'""''"' ''y' -^^°n "weTrumbS g 
along the cobbled pavements, labourers were whistling 

amonJtr -^^ ^'V"'"^' ^» "^''Sine came floLde nf 
among the sidings, the dock gates were ooen ^nH ih 
murmur of the ebb tide was nobnger to be h«;d amon^ 
the piers. for the great metropolis had awakened ^ 



CHAPTKR III 

ENTER A PRINCESS 
The sun was shining fair, the bright spring day was 
young w.th considerable promise of being%oo Lt 
Brand had an envelope in his hand, containing a lette; 
of .ntroduction ,nd directed to Messrs. Vanslyperken 
& Schneidam. Attorneys, at number thirty-four Here 

I trlfll u^ .«!"""ng brass plate of Messrs. Vansfy- 
th= sL^ Schne.dam ; but he waited before chmbing 
the steps because the inner doors swung open, and 
a lady client came out, who turned with a gracious 
good-day to the clerk, while she gathered up hfrsWr 
before descending into the dust of the streets. 

sel^^tV"" ^T^ ""'^ ^'''■' °^ ^ commanding pre- 
sence her face radiant with health, her small red Ls 
pursed up, as though the lawyers had given her some! 
thmg veo' senous to think about. She was dressed L 

h-r ?;rlH"""'-i" ^"^^^^ ^^^y- ^- bo„nSn^ 
As he c^H """l^ *" '"'*'°"^ golden-brown hair 
AS she came down the steps Brand stood aside by the 

wl tfe m^"^ 'h'"/? '^' '"^^ '°°''"^ "P *° ^^« what 
irr t- t ^'- "^ '^'' ^^' S'a"<=e at the gaping seams 

of h.s boots, his ragged overalls, his old pifot'^^afket W 
Ifl^nel shirt that was ripped at the breast, showing the 

|h«s eyes. He turned h.s face away, shifting uneasily, as 
13 



14 



ENTER A PRINCESS 



though he would try to escape ; then he heard her little 
quick breath of astonishment, as she stopped at the 
fourth step. 
" Brand ! " she whispered. 

He shrank back a little, ashamed ; but he could not 
help looking up until their eyes met 

Her face was full of pity and sorrow. " My poor 
boy," she cried. " Has it— I'm so sorry— I mean I'm 
so glad to see you." She came down the steps ; and a 
thrill went through him as her gloved hand rested upon 
his arm. "Come in— come in out of the street Fancy 
it being ten whole years since we met, and yet I knew 
you at the first glance. Mr. Schneidam will lend us his 
room ; it will be all right Brand, I can't let you go 
away. You must come!" 

Brand was too weak with hunger — too tired and ill — 
to offer much resistance; so she drew him into the 
house, got leave from a little formal old lawyer, took 
him to a private consulting-room ; then whispered to 
somebody at the door, handing him money. 

As to Brand, he threw down his hat on the floor. 
•' Well," he growled, " I'm caught." But, from the ex- 
pression of his face, as he collapsed on the edge of Mr. 
Schneidam's table, one would have supposed that he 
liked it 

His hostess closed the door, put Brand's hat on the 
window-sill, and came to him, stretching out both her 
hands with frank cordiality. The man received them 
with reverence. 

" Caught ! " she said gaily. " You bad boy, how dare 
you want to run away from me ? But what brought 
you here to father's solicitors of all ncopi;?" He 
could not answer. " So you won't talk ?'" she laughed. 
" Never mind. I've got you to look at, anyway." 

Somehow her little laugh of delight made it all come 



ENTER A PRINCESS 15 

back. That dream of ten years ago ; that month-too 
brief after the train wrecking— when Hilda Gault and 
her father had nursed him in the hotel at Revolversbure 
What was he that these great people should have cared 
for him ? What had he done that the Railroad KinE 
should become like a father to him-that Miss Gault 
should have sat by his bedside, to ease the pain through 
the night watches ? " 

And then they had gone away, leaving him with the 
dream of his boyhood realized-an apprenticeship to 

I his hearts profession of journalism, besides the sweet 
memory of all that they had been to him in his sickness. 
He— who had never known a father's love, a lady's 
gentleness-looked back upon that month of perfect 
happiness as a breath of heaven, that was to inspire 

t all his life. And now 

I ..ft P° T T^'"'^''''' ^^ '^'''' "^^^ "'■g'^t before you 
left Revolversburg, wnen that brute of a doctor first let 
me sit up to receive you ? Your father was in one of his 

j life had made him feel kinder sick ; he had not long to 

"I remember," she said gravely. "He told me that 
[day how you seemed to have become a second son to 
I him. He loved you, Brand." 

L ^^r'^^i^ damaged fireman was a queer object for 

von'h7 ^'"! *° '"" '■" '°^^ ^■'"'^ That night, afte 
lyou had gone home to bed, he told me how yoi and 

|^°"r"'t"' ''° J'O" «" him, brother by adoption ? " 
I Marshall, you mean? He was in New York then 
I You never saw him. Brand." 

" Yes. I remember, Marshall. Tha. you and Marshall 
were no more his children than I was " "l^-^shall 

chi£n;°" '°" ''"''-''"'' "^ -- -'y adopted 



i6 



ENTER A PRINCESS 



" Yes ; not even relations. Just taken up like me, to 
fill the waste places of a lonely old life. Say, he must 
have been a very good man I " 
Hilda bowed her head. 

"He told me," continued Brand, "that I must t / to 
get quit of Socialism and trades'-union prejudices ; and 
although he was a wicked plutocrat, I must think of 
him always as a father. Because, he said, in spite of my 
being a reprehensible young blackguard, he thought I 
had the foundations of manhood in me ; and as his own 
father, Patrick Gault, had risen from being a sailor 
before the mast, so I might rise to such a position that 
the United States would be proud of me." 

"That's true," said Hilda; "or coming true quicker 
. than you think." 

"He told me," continued Brand, in a wonderfully 
gentle voice, "that this last of many attempts to kill 
him, made him fearful as to your future. There was 
some enemy unknown to him— some blackguard bad 
enough to attack not only himself, but his child ; so that, 
after he was gone, you might still be in danger. Your 

money, he said, was entrusted to — what's his name 

Marshall's care; but Marshall was— well, too keen a 
business man to look after you, except as regards your 
property. Then he said that he had caused a big search 
with detectives as to the train-wrecking, which had 
failed to trace the wrecker ; but that if ever you were 
menaced again, in danger, in trouble, he would rather 
trust me to help you than even Marshall. He was 
right, it was true ; for when he trusted me, he placed 
you under a guardianship surer than the love of even a 
real brother." 

She drew her hands away. 

"If ever I heard that you were in trouble I was to 
bring a letter— this letter— to his solicitors, who would 



ENTER A PRINCESS ,7 

I deliver to me all the evidence as to train-wreckide, and 
I money to continue the search." 

" But," she protested, " I-m not in trouble ; there was 
I no need to deliver this," 

"Look," he handed her the letter; "you will see that 
lit was also to be presented if I were in trouble That's 
|why I came to-day." 

She had begun reading the letter, when they were 
interrupted by the office boy, who came in bearing a 
fray. "Here's the soup, the squab. Miss, and some 
Ifruit; and that's the change." 

" Hello," said Brand, " what's the meaning of this ? " 

"Why, you silly boy, do you think I can be a nurse 
|and not know that you're famished ? " 

" Since when have you been a nurse ? Why do you 

"Come, eat," said Hilda, decisively ; '■ we'll have time 
|to talk afterwards." 

He cast one longing eye at the tray. "That's all 
honsense," he said ; but presently, being persuaded to 
tacrifice all pretence of affluence, he sat down before the 
poup, and proceeded to scald his mouth. 

Hilda walked over to the window, but she could hear 
him makmg a ravenous onslaught upon the meat and 
bread, and did not want him to see that there were tears 
"n her eyes. 

' -'low did you get here. Brand ? " 

" Walked most of the way. Wanted exercise." The 
Iread was nearly all gone. 

" Were you entirely ruined ? " 

"Why '-he said, roughly, "what do you know about 

I ht" "'* '*""^" ^'°*^^ ^^^ beginning of the 

7r {if " watching you. Brand-that is, Marshall 
na 1.^ We knew, from the time when father got you 



I8 



ENTER A PRINCESS 



on the staff of the Rtvolversburg Democrat, that you 
would turn out a very big man." 

" Well," he mumbled, " I'm an afternoon's walk round 
the chest, and six fcot four in my socks." 

" I didn't mean that. Brand. Father once said that 
only a hero dares to tell all the truth." 

" Doesn't pay," said Brand. " A few weeks of telling 
the truth have done for me. Three months ago I was 
owner and editor of the Revolversburg Democrat ; now 
I'm a tramp. Doesn't pay." 

"It does pay." She turned upon him, her eyes 
glowing with admiration. " It pays better than success, 
better than wealth, better than anything. When I read 
your wonderful editorials I knew that you'd be ruined ; 
I knew that those wretched money-lenders, timber 
thieves, lying politicians, bad magistrates, hypocrites in 
high places, would get up and howl at you. I w.-sn't a 
bit surprised at your being shot, burnt out, driven out of 
the town, for why should you be better off than our 
Master, who died for the truth ? " 

He rose from the table, blushing scarlet. " Why, how 
did you find out ? " 

" Find out ? Haven't you seen the papers ? " 

" Not for a month." 

" You don't know how pleased the whole country is to 
hear of a journalist who dares to do his duty. Why, 
there were columns about you every day — ' The Missing 
Hero ' ; ' Brand Haraldson, the modern Saint George.' 
Oh, don't you suppose it's praise ; the papers have been 
laughing at you." 

" What rubbish ! " said Brand, scornfully. " The silly 
season is right early this year ; but they'd sell their souls 
for copy." Then he chuckled. " I look like a celebrity, 
don't I?" 

She sat down, loosening the buckle of her cloak, which 



^l 



ENTER A PRINCESS 



>9 



fell back from her shoulders. " And what's your next 
vocation — desperado in a Wild West show ? " 

" I suppose," Brand sat on the table again ; >' that If 
people won't have facts, I'd better try something else." 
He sat on the table, swinging his long legs under him 
I like a boy. 

"Say," he said, "did you know that I'm a bruiser? 
Last fall I mauled the 'Frisco Tough till he didn't know 
who he was or where he belonged. It was bully." 

"Brand, I'm ashamed of you I" Certainly she 
looked anything but ashamed of this young giant ; 
but one must not judge even the prettiest woman by 
I appearances. 

Brand looked round at her with an expression of 
innocent surprise at her protest ; perhaps he would still 
I have invited Hilda to feel his biceps; but by her 
I contracted brows it was evident that she was thinking 
I about something else, so he contented himself with 
[drawing up his right arm till the muscles stood rigid, 
I then feeling them contentedly with his left fingers. 
I "Brand," said the woman, starting up in sudden 
jfcxcitement, "this won't do at all; you must have new 
I clothes at once— a silk hat, boots, collar, shirt, every- 
I thing. You must let me lend you some money." She 
j moved rapidly to the door, opened it, and was sweeping 
out of the room before Brand could utter a syllable of 
I protest. 

Then he said, sullenly, " I won't." 

She turned upon him in the doorway. 

"You shall." 

" These are quite good enough for scrapping." 

" There's not going to be any ' scrapping,' " 

"There is. Why " 

The door slammed, and Brand wai alone. 

He whistled softly, as men do when the eternal 



30 



ENTER A PRINCESS 



feminine preienU some new surprise, looked mgretfuUy 
at the empty luncheon tray, went to the window, 
grabbed up his hat, and was about to escape from the 
house, when Hilda reappeared, counting a roll of ten- 
dollar bills. 

"There." she thrust the money into his hands, "you 
mustnt be naughty; and," she gave him back her 
father's mtroduction, "you won't have any need to 
present this letter. Keep it until you're in trouble 
again. Meanwhile, go out, buy yourself a suit of town 
clothes, a proper outfit, have a bath, get shaved, lunch 
comfortably, then meet me at three o'clock." 

" But I tell you " 

"Three o'clock at the front door of the Avtngtr 
block Now you'll be good, won't you. Brand, for 
fathers sake?" 

" You bet," said Brand. 



CHAPTER IV 

ENTER THE GREAT PHILANTHROPIST 

Marshall Gault, adopted son and heir of the 
i Railroad King, sat at his desk opening letters, dictating 
answers to a secretary, jotting down memoranda, occa- 
sionally giving orders through a speaking-tube, always 
lucid, direct, abrupt, doing his work with the concentrated 
I attention of a powerful, healthy brain. Chiefs of depart- 
ments ventured from time to time into his presence, 
I fortunate if the master received their business without 
I impaling them with a glance of his grey eyes ; for 
I Marshall Gault ruled the weak by terror as he governed 
the strong by force of character. His was a tremendous 
i intellect, that seized upon facts, grouped them, grasped 
their whole import, used them swiftly, and perceived the 
I entire results with unerring accuracy ; a great admin- 
^ istrative brain ; the genius of the twentieth century, that 
I had lifted him from the ranks of the dominant race, and 
stamped him master. 

At Michael Gault's death Marshall had inherited 
money enough to buy a New York daily paper ; in 
nine years he had made the Avenger the richest, the 
most independent, the most powerful journal in the 
New World. Other journalists, two or three of them, 
were politically strong enough at times to influence 
events at Washington; but Gault wielded a weapon 
I that can only be h, idled by a man of genius— hia 



JJ ENTER THE GREAT PHILANTHROPIST 

sublime indiflercnce to money. Alt .lewspapen — at 
least in the United States— depend for their existence 
on advertising patronage, the number o( copies they 
can sell regulating the value of their "space" to the 
advertiser. Now the newspaper manager knows well 
that many of his advertisers are swindlers whose patron- 
age is a disgrace, yet he dare not expose the welUlcnown 
iniquities of one lest the others be offended. So, while 
all the frauds of commerce were hushed up and adver- 
tised by most of the newspapers, Gault recklessly 
exposed and uprooted swindle after swindle, one victim 
a week, smashing fraudulent joint stock ventures, railway 
companies, banks, insurance offices, merchants, with 
ruthless impartiality, inspiring unbounded public con- 
fidence in his good faith. And yet his advertising 
columns were patronized by sound, honourable firms. 

American newspapers depend somewhat on subsidirj 
from political parties, but Gault seemed to launch his 
thunderbolts with equal impartiality into the political 
arena. And the people said, " Here at last is an honest 
newspaper ! " 

Many journals advertised with special editions, 
Sunday supplements, coupon " gifts " to subscribers, 
fiction by famous novelists, sensational special corre- 
spondence, financial, religious, domestic, and legal advice, 
but the Avenger vna not to be outdone in becoming. a 
universal provider and automatic bosom friend of the 
people. 

Modern editors make their columns collecting agencies 
for charities, whereby the subscribers pay, that the 
newspaper may pose in the halo of sanctity, which is 
good advertising. Gault gave out of his own purse 
with such boundless liberality to beneficent institutions, 
charity, and all the churches, that he had become known 
as the great philanthropist. 



ENTER THE GREAT PHILAN1 HROPIST aj 

To an Englishman indiflTerence to gold appears an 

I amiable eccentricity ; to an American as a mental 

obliquity which passeth understanding. Marshall Gault 

I was one of the most prominent personages in the Great 

I Republic. 

The Avenger building, almost southernmost of the 
I skyscrapers, and overshadowed to the north by loftier 
I buildings, was a structure of steel, faced with marble, 
■that rose sixteen storeys above the pavement. Close 
I beside it on the right was the dark, squat, ten-storey 
I block of Dr. Rex Clewston's Frailty investigation 
I Bureau, in which Colonel Giggleswick claimed to have 
I been an officer. 

Mr. Gault's sub-basement was an engine-room ; the 

[basement contained the Avengei's printing works ; the 

I rooms about the vestibule were devoted to business 

I management ; twelve storeys were sublet ; on the upper 

i floors were the offices of the editorial staflT ; and the roof 

[supported a little park, where the employ wes could 

I refresh themselves with the sea-breeze, lager beer, and 

■ cutlets. A broad cornice projected from above the 

fifteenth floor, where, between the windows of Gault's 

office, stood plaster statues of Justice, Mercy, Faith, 

Hope, Love, all in an advanced stage of decay. These 

! windows commanded a magnificent prospect, for beneath 

them, far on the left, the tongue of Manhattan Island 

tapered away down to the Battery, and beyond was the 

bay, all glittering under the noon sun, where the sails of 

schooners hung dark against the blue, and the smoke of 

liners drifted along the breeze, where the fishing-smacks 

dodged in the track of the ferries, and the yachts 

fluttered their ample jibs in the wind's eye; where 

launches dashed about cursing the helpless barges, and 

pilot-boats raced seaward in search of the home-coming 

ships. 



24 ENTER THE GREAT PHILANTHROPIST 

L^Z^'r^^'"^^" '■'■°"' *' ' '"'■'"■'==• ^t°°d bewildered 
Liberty, her bronze arm still bearing aloft the extin 

tKM w V/^°"^'' "'"' -"^''^ --" fugSes from 
the Old World of Freedom come to grief Poor Liberty 
has many exponents now, but none who can defend her 
against armed monarchies, armed plutocracies, armed 
anarchy; yet ever sanguine, she beheves in m^n who 
.ke Gaut,have found «IIo„esty"a stirring war cr^' 
|^Just.ce"a flexible weapon, "Truth" an advertisT 

_ Gaulfs morning work was done, the secretary had 
just been dismissed, he had put aside the first of the 
evening papers, and for just a minute or two before 
luncheon was standing at one of the windows looking 

fnT M ^^u ^^^ ''^*"= °f Liberty loomed far awaj 
m the blue haze, the sun, just poised above the rays o"^ 
her aureola, pomtmg with light her torch that had been 
snuffed out. Gault.as he stood there, knew that she was 

W » 7^ '^f"'^'' ' *"* '^' P«°P'^ *ho had grudged 
her a base to stand on cared little how soon !he col- 
lapsed; that they loved the Shibboleth endeared o them 

SfeTactl '"T°h: f" T'"' '^l '^'='^''' *''^ ^^^ '^ 
tne fact 1 The Eagle," said he, « of Liberty, Garrulity 
and Rapacity abhors facts." -rruiuy. 

The great man turned away from the prospect with 
a sardonic smile, and was about to go to Kheo„ 
in his retiring-room when a page-boy threw oZ th^ 
door lading from the secretarial Ws, InTanrnc^d 

" rJf}" '^l '^'i^^'-'^'^y- ^ she swept into the room. 

I ve dropped m for luncheon; how's the ^z,«„^^r this 

morning ? Why, what's the matter ? " ^ " 

G,n^/^7 !'''' '^''^' ^y ^^' &^^"°"'' Pr«ence, put Mr 

Sl^il^gro^^r^^--^-'-- h;W: 



ENTER THE GREAT PHILANTHROPIST 25 

" That ass, Straight, is leaving me, and still I can't get 
a man fit to replace him." 

"Very glad to hear it," said H.ila, as he helped 
her to remove her clo..; "I hop<d you were going 
to have trouble about th.r, .,■ t ,.o„,^„.t ^ave !om! 

"Considerate," he grumbled, "very considerate. Had 
luncheon ? No ? Well, come, my dear, the chops are 
getting cold. '^ 

They entered the private room together, where Mr. 
Gault rang for an extra plate, before he showed her 
to a seat. Then they sat down at a table, laid with a 
'Tm ^ u T ' '""'=''«°"' ="d a pile of newspapers. 
Marshall," said the lady, as she pulled off her gloves 
you can't thmk who's turned up. A fighting editor' 
ramed down to you out of the sky, all in rags, and 

Jou thinr?" "'''''"' '^'°"^^ ^'"'- N°^' ^^° do 

"I know what to expect," said Marshall, resignedly 
while the servant was laying a place at the table; 
always know what to expect from a woman." 
Of course you guess who I mean? No? Why 
Brand Haraldson I " she cried triumphantly. But to 
her surprise he grunted. f / 

"Don't you approve of him .> Why, Marshall, he's 
the very man for you I " 

Marshall eyed her sideways, as he listened to the foot- 
steps of the retiring servant; then helped Hilda to a 

"^izu"*?. u"^*^ ^^' «°^^^^ ^''h iced water, 
last wS." '"^"^ '"'P^'tiently. " you thought differently 

"Let's see." he snapped ; "am I right in saying that 

f" hT tS "" '','. r''"»' knight-efrant who rfscued 
lather and yourself from the wicked wrecker? It was 
most— may I say melodramatic?" 



26 ENTER THE GREAT PHILANTHROPIST 

" Brand is a hero ! Marshall, this is not like you ; it's 
not worthy of you." 

" Oh ! a hero, is he ? But " 

" Of course ; you know you always thought so. Why, 
you devoted columns in the Avenger to quoting his 
editorials I " 

" We did. It was almost providential ; we were at 
our wits' end for ' copy.' But may I point out, my dear, 
that the journalist who gets himself into such very hot 
water, however saintly I suppose you'd call him, how- 
ever picturesque a personality, however soul-inspiring, 
prophetic, and all that sort of thing, belongs rather to 
the plane of epic poetry, than to the sordid level ground 
of journalese ? If I had a spare pedestal outside these 
windows, your hero might pose as a plaster impersona- 
tion of something abstract — Virtue say, or the Spirit of 
Chivalry, or a second-h^nd seraph ; but, for goodness' 
sake, keep this bull out of my china store." 

Hilda gazed ruefully at her chop, which was relaps- 
ing into a state of cold fat ; she wanted to cry over 
her iridescent bubble, now broken — collapsed into 
soapy water. 

The great man had glanced up under his eyebrows, 
curious at Hilda's dismay; suddenly his eyes shone 
like cold steel, his heavy jaw was set with resolution, 
and he had noted a fact for future reference ; then he 
waited for her to look up uneasily under his prolonged 
stare. 

She looked up, wondering at his face, which now 
glowed with serene benignity. His whole manner had 
changed to a grave gentleness. " How a woman hates 
being chaffed," he chuckled ; " would it please you very 
much if I " 

She was silent. 

He reached out his heavy hand with a caressing 



ENTER THE GREAT PHILANTHROPIST 27 

gesture, from which Hilda instinctively shrank. Then 
he saw his mistake, and to reassure her withdrew his 
hand, leaning back from the table ; but she rose, never- 
theless, and began to draw on her gloves, not noting the 
return of that hard expression to the man's face. 

"Of course, you must remember your business 
interests," she said, coldly. 

He rose from his chair. "Hilda," his voire rang 
with sympathy, though his eyes were like steel, " you 
know I would do anything, sacrifice any interest to 
please you; but if I take to my arms this laughing- 
stock of the whole American Press, you can't imagine 
how my reputation will suffer. Of course, I understand 
your gratitude— he saved father's life and your own. I 
am grateful myself. I had intended to show it by get- 
ting for him a certain Government situation for which 

there are hundreds of applicants, but " 

Still she was drawing on her gloves ; but coming for- 
ward he took one hand in his. 

" You must understand that if I take this man into 
my service it is for your sake only." 
She shrank from him visibly. 

"After all," he continued, with a bitter laugh, "it 
would be a pity to disappoint your sweet charity. ' For 
your sake, since you wish it, I'll break this colt to 
harness. I suppose he's waiting outside, quivering on 
the ragged edge of expectation, eh? Well, you may 
send him to me." 

Hilda took up her cloak. " I'll send him to you at 
once." 

"Thank you," she continued, letting him help her 
with the cloak, which he did tenderly; then moved 
towards the door. 

" Hilda ! " She turned upon him, hard, cold, repellent. 
"You will remember," said Gault,"the favour is to you." 



CHAPTER V 

THE FIGHTING EDITORSHIP 

Brand was waiting in the vestibule, a little bewildered 
even in this refuge by the rush of metropolitan traffic, 
exciting the derisive wonder of errand-boys, porters, and 
nondescript loafers who lent their small support to the 
marble walls. He had clothed himself in a tweed suit 
several sizes too small, because the slop dealer had told 
him that for the moment their sprir.g stock in giants 
was not yet unpacked, and a man with a nineteen-inch 
neck should order collars by the yard. One street arab 
wanted to be informed if it was cold up there, for every 
little body knows that a big body is safe prey for 
chaffing. An old flowtr woman had sold him a button- 
hole with such a smile as she could not spare for ♦he 
vain little persons her usual customers ; and a street 
harpist had a " quarter " for his music from the Western 
man who was used to Western ways. Brand shared 
Hilda's bounty with the poor, but his efforts upon his 
own person were so lamentable that when she discovered 
him her heart sank, and her greeting was a little groan 
of ilespair. 

What would Marshall think of this giant Westerner, 
who dared to affront city usages in a suit too small for 
him, a soft hat, red necktie, and square-toed boots? 
Bristling with irritation after her late encounter, she 
was naturally indignant with Brand, the cause of all her 
28 



THE FIGHTING EDITORSHIP 29 

Sedts "a? °" ^"'"^ '^^^ ''^^ °'^™^- '•"-^'y 

" ^."*^^.[''" fi«d "P all right ? •■ he asked, anxiously, 
b lushmg hke a b.g school-boy ; and his innocence com- 
pletely disarmed Hilda. 

vol'lobtiHT'T" '"." ''"^'''''" "^h-t>carecrow have 
you robbed ? No. it's too late to repent, you must 
meet your fate as you are. Never mind, pj boy, I' 
see to your education, but now " She drew a card f om 

H^raTdsir "'"'^ ""'^' ""'' »^"'^' " '"*~'^-"^ Mr. 

,nli^- "">" ^^ ''J''' ""^''"'^ ^' ^^' ^'""<= Of reassur- 
ance " IS real nice of you. I've been wondering how I 
shouM ever find you again in this endless town Tnd 
heres your address printed plain in the corner. But 

say, you look pale ; you're tired, let me " 

"Yes. Brand. I am a little-tired; you mustn't keep 
me^ .-he handed to him a second card. "You'll 
find me at home to-morrow, say, at five. Now Marshall's 
waiting to see you, so take the express elevator to the 
sixteenth floor, then ask for Marshall Gault " 

" ^t"''"" ^""" ' " ^^ «=>aimed. « Why. you don't 
mean to say that Marshall Gault. of th/ /veneris 
your— your foster brother? " "^ ' 

"Our foster brother." said Hilda, nodding; "didn't 
you know? He wants to offer you work. ^ Now go 
along, or you'll be too late to see him. Good-bye° She 
extended her hand frankly. " Good luck to you '^ 

She was gone. He stood bewildered in the great 
v^Jbule, wondering how he could have failedtoC 
MalSn """'• ^° ^J^""'' ^""'^'^ "y adoption-her 

stofThT^rrr ''-'' ''' ^'- ^•^"-^''-P'-' 

in M Tl"P '" *''^ '"■'- ^"' ^^'^ '" ^ait a long time 
m Marshall's ante-room, for great people are wont'o 



30 



THE FIGHTING EDITORSHIP 



keep small people kicking their heels so that the fearful 
joy of expectation may be chilled with misgivings. 
Moreover, when he was at last admitted to the presence 
he found himself in a strong light ; whereas Gault sat 
at his desk over against the windows, darkly visible — 
another trick of the petty trade of greatness. 

Brand could see that the famous journalist was short 
of stature, clean-ihaven, of middle age. He could feel 
the swift penetrating glance that sized him up, classified 
him, and labelled him like some new specimen of insect 
life. Irritated, exasperated by that scrutiny, he threw 
back his head disdainfully, and Gault, for the first time 
in his life, was out-stared. 

"Miss Gault," said Brand, "asked me to call." 
To whii-h Marshall added with great politeness : 

" Please, take a seat, Mr. , Mr. " 

Brand deliberately crossed the room, and took a seat 
nearer the windows than Marshall. Now, he could see 
this man, who had a face like only one— the greatest 
genius that ever vexed the earth— Napoleon the Great. 
Where had he seen that face before ? In a dream > In 
some picture ? Somewhere— he could not be mistaken 
—he had seen this man. Perhaps, in some past life, for 
the memory filled him with a vague uneasiness— appre- 
hension — dread. 

"You have doubtless heard," said Gault, "of my 
methods in journalism?" 
" I have." 

"You are aware, then, of the responsibilities which 
attach to the Fighting Editor of the Avenger?" 
"Yes." 

"What credentials have you from which I can 
reasonably hope that you are fit for such work?" 

Brand looked him straight in the eyes. "None 
whatever." 



m 



THE FIGHTING EDITORSHIP 31 

"You mean, I suppose, that the record of your journ- 
ahstic freak at Revolversburg is common property ?" 

" You seem to have heard about it." 

"I have." Mr. Gault's tone was' almost unbearably 
offensive. 'I was, I may say, amused by an ingenious 
mfant with the baby propensity for destruction." He 
smiled blandly. " The toys you played with were insti- 
tutions that appeared to your dawning intelligence to be 
imperfect; so you licked off the paint; you battered 
and dismembered the dolls. You could not make such 
toys-a city council, the machinery of law and justice, 
a bank, a rival newspaper, and sundry mercantile houses. 
Yet, because these were displeasing, and you were 
strong, you smashed them, half-ruined the young city 
and thought yourself ill-used because people resented 
your playfulness You're a very amusing young man." 
Gault chuckled inwardly as he watched the gatherine 
the'qukfk ^^"'^'' '"'"S"^*'""' But Brand was stung to 

"The bank," he growled, "had mortgaged the farmers, 
body and soul, until they shot themselves, or were left 
to starve in the road. The City Council and County 
Government were gangs of robbers, stealing the public 
funds. The drug store was killing more people than 
the saloons. The 'rival paper' was a dirty rag, black- 
mailing for advertisements, and kept alive by political 
subsidies; the deputies to the State Legislature and to 
Congress were timber thieves, land-grabbers, and poli- 
ical vermin set up to pull wires for a party 'Bom' ■ 
the judges were bribed; the police got fat by black- 
maihng gamblers and brothels ; the sheriff was a no- 
torious murderer; the only real law was Lynch Law ■ 
the only justice was hanging or burning by the Vigilance 
Committee. The institutions were 'imperfect.' I 
smashed them." "<!«"«[. 1 



3* 



THE FIGHTING EDITORSHIP 



The great man chuckled. " Revolversburg must 
have been rather like New York. So now you want 
to disport yourself in the same way here, and I am to 
have the privilege of being burnt out, shot at, and 
generally disapproved of." 

" Yet you sent for me ? " said Brand. 

" I did, Mr. Haraldson ; and if we agree as to salary, 
I'll try you for a month as Fighting Editor under certain 
conditions ; that is, I object to being made the principal 
performer in a wolf hunt, and I can't afford more than 
two hundred thousand a year for fighting libel suits. 
So when you write an article at my order, you will 
submit the same to my solicitor, who will forward it to 
me with a memorandum stating how much the victims 
will be able to get out of me by suit for damages. If 
you thunder judiciously, or if the game is worth paying 
for, the articles will be published ; if not, they must be 
revised, or set aside. Now, young man, go and make 
terms with my business manager. Remember, you are 
not answerable to my editor-in-chief, but to me per- 
sonally. Here "—he handed a memorandum to Brand 
—"is your authority. Then go to the Fighting Editor's 
office, and have a chat with your predecessor— Mr. 
Straight — who leaves me this evening. I may tell you 
that, although the Avenger is a morning paper, I find it 
more convenient that my Fighting Editor shall do his 
work in the daytime, so as to be under my direct 
personal control." 

As Brand left the office, Gault touched an electric 
button, and, when a bell sounded, called down a speak- 
ing-tube: "Fighting Editor, send Mr. Straight to me 
at once." 

A minute passed, during which Gault walked up and 
down the deep-piled carpet, his hands behind his back, 
his head bent, his eyes nearly closed. 



THE FIGHTING EDITORSHIP 33 

hen the door opened softly, and a tall, suave man 
hatchet-faced with deep-set black eyes, glided into the 
room. No sound betrayed the i .ave man's entrance, yet 
Gault looked up, beckoning him without speaking to a 
chair; then sat down, dasoing his heavy hands before 
him on the desk. 

" Mr. Straight." 

"Yes, sir." 

" I have appointed your successor ; his name is Brand 
Haraldson." 

" What, sir, the " 

"Yes, the Revolversburg fool. You will find him in 
your office when you return. Your new position as 
secretary of the Cyclone Explosives " ' 

The suave man smiled subtly. 

•'—will not hinder you from serving me. Instruct 
him m his duties, introduce him at your boarding-house 
make friends with him. You may go." ' 



CHAPTER VI 

ENTER THE LATE FIGHTING EDITOR 

He was not a suave man who came to Brand in the 
Fighting Editor's office, not a subtle, soft-footed, furtive 
man, not at all the servile employee who had waited so 
respectfully upon Gault ; for Richard Straight met his 
successor with a hearty grasp of the hand, a genuine 
smile, looking him frankly in the eyes. Brand liked 
him instinctively, feii completely at his ease, sat down 
as he preferred to do on the edge of the office table' 
accepting a cigar with a sense of rest and content 
pleasantly contrasted with the feverish irritation of his 
meeting with the great man up-stairs. 

They talked about baseball, then wrestling, which led 
to the feeling of Brand's muscle, and other vanities, until 
Straight suggested an adjournment to the roof garden 
where the two men drank lager at a little table beside 
the parapet The sound of the traffic came up like a 
roar of distant breakers ; but a violet mist filled the 
streets, from which rose the roofs and towers like a con- 
fusion of innumerable reefs lashed by a phantom surf. 

Near by was the golden dome of the World building 
all glorious in the light of the declining sun ; and, far 
above the smoke of the metropolis, the heaven was flecked 
with roseate sprays of cloud, 

" I'm sick of all this," said Straight ; " you've brought 
with you a whiff of the West, which makes me crazy to 
34 



I ENTER THE LATE FIGHTING EDITOR 35 

et away where one can still try to respect mankind. 

ok at that ruck of them, four milhon people camped 

In and about this island of Manhattan ; listen to the 

owl of them, all talking dollars, thinking dollars, pray- 
bg to dollars six days out of the seven. Sunday they 
Worship their fetish, thinking that if they wheedle 
Vnough it will go to sleep for the next six days that they 
jitend to devote to the opposition. That's what it costs 
B be a man here — nausea." 

" All bunkum," said Brand, looking away across the 
arbour towards the misty hills. " Say, Straight, there's 
be sea." 
i Straight looked at him wondering, 

" I always thought," said Brand, " that it was blue • 
ut this is pale green, and all sorts of colours, with mists 
Jrifting about, and there against the sun it's like 
lilver." 

-i, " What, have you never seen it before ? " 
I " Only in pictures. This beer is good too." 
5 Straight stared. The man was a freak of nature 
g " I haven't had any lately," said Brand. " Do vou 
Ipnow Miss Gault ? " ' 

> These changes of subject seemed rather sudden to 
straight " I've been introduced," he said, coldly • for 
! had little interest in his successor, much in his own 
tiairs. 
" Tell me about her." 

^!'9\°L''°''"'''^''"y^o'iy knows that she's worth two 
billion ddlars, sunk in the • King ' Line of steamers ; bu" 
hes run down fifty per cent, in the matrimonial market 
Ince the mystery of the Tsar and the Ca/iM What 
bstery ? Well, you are out of it Don't you know 
U wo first-rate liners-each with a thousand or mor^ 
leople on board— have gone missing ? " 
"Yes," said Brand, thoughtfully, "I remember the 



36 ENTER THE LATE FIGHTING EDITOR 

and puffed comfortably at hi, cigar, for everybody lik^, 
tellmg b.g new. " The CaUpA, her sister ship, left K 
York twelve-th.rteen day. ago. She was reported 

I5T fZ T ""' *?'"" ' ^'°'" "" Position^arly 
as t I, ,n the season, she was expected to break the 

"Well? "said Brand. 

" She's posted ' missing." " 

••But Miss Gault-I suppose the ships were insured ? " 

They say not. You sec, some of these very big 

compan.cs run an insurance reserve on their own b^ks" 

the lossTs r"" ' '°" *'■' ^""^<=-''I^"d it to replace 

thl^r^^^K',^""* "■' ''^''*^' passenger prefers a line 
that doesn t lose two ships within five months. In the 
middle of last century we had an American transatlantic 
company the Collins Line, consisting of three fine 

Paajlc were wrecked, with fearful loss of life, and now 

OuTZi" ''f i'""'""' " '^ -^""g-hulk at Gibraltan 
Our American trade was wiped out. But you needn't 
thmk that Miss Gault minds being ruine"^, for she' 
notoriously a •crank'" "■ sues 

het:.?st'Sk;'"'"^''' '^ '^"'' ^onvard. as though 

•' l^mit"^^V° ""r '°"'" =n,usement in this giant. 

for Ztl'r ^'T ' T'''"^ '"^"y- "'''*' *»"= cares more 
for other people than she does for herself. I don't 
suppose she spends a thousand a year on herself." 

_V\ here does the rest go ? " Brand emptied his glass. 
Helpmg lame dogs over stiles." Straight spoke 



iL 



ENTER THE LATE FIGHTING EDITOR 37 

almost icornfully. "She lives, they say, in a common 
tenement in the East side, and talks Yiddish like a Jew 
[hawker. Why once the ' regular ' doctors had her hauled 
[up for killing off her patients without professional aid." 
" Surely she wasn't convicted ? * 
" She's too pretty, my boy, far too pretty I " 
Brand sat for some time looking out to the sea and 
the liners. 

The Gaults," he said, "made their pile out of 
ihipping." 

" You bet," Straight answered. " There's good copy in 
;hat story too." 
" Let's have your version." 

"Well, the original Pat Gault was Dublin Irish, bolted 
om an orphanage, stowed away in a deep-sea ship out 

tf Liverpool, and served before the mast until he 
appened to save the mate from sharks. The mate was 
prunk at the time, but when told about it afterwards, he 
taid he was much obliged, and taught Pat what he knew 
Of navigation. So Pat rose to be master of a Bristol 
dipper, and made his pile by small but consistent smug- 
gling. He married, settled his wife here in New York, 
Aivested with his owners, and left a very tidy sum behind 
-•lim. The eldest son, Michael, inheriting Pat's wisdom 
•gether with his interest in the Bristol clippers, per- 
luaded the other partners to go into steam, then, by craft 
ind subtilty, built up a solid railroad connection between 
^ew York and the West, and offered through rates for 
leat and gram between Chicago and Liverpool, which 
•radically cornered the trade. Before he died he 
wntroUed railroad connections from here to the Pacific 
md the crack line of Atlantic greyhounds. They called 
urn a railroad king, so it was by way of compliment 
lat his English partners rechristened their company as 
le 'Km.? Line. He never married— some Jinny ass 



38 ENTER THE LATE FIGHTING EDITOR 

to IS-ln'jiT' ^ '"PP^^'^rb"' ^hen he wanted a child 
r,^^ K '"'"«'«'°"' »"= 'hocked society by adopting 

he h^H .J^ Broadway. By some extraordinary instinct 
he had caught a young genius, so there you have ability 
2;:^°^'-'""''y-'" °ther words, Marshall Gault. of the 

'• And who was Miss Gault ? " Brand blushed. 
1 m not quite sure, but, according to the newsoaoers 

on hs doorstep, with a postman's knock, and a message 
that there was no answer.'" <:»Mgc 

Rr2' ''^^?"'? '^'^^^ ^^'* "P°" ""''* was intolerable. 

B ,f 1 • u°"^'' •"= *°"''^ *="""?'«= "P the offender. 
littTp .n- -'^ -f "°"' ^y*" *"= untroubled, only a 
little sneering smile curled his lips. "Our New York 
jounial-sts," he drawled, "are n'othing if norim^t 

Brand laughed, for it was a treat to find a weak man 

f^SL T """?f *•''" ^' ^°' *'"<="'^"t. a jolly good 
fellow, who could not be frightened 

his"S T^'^i^^ of journalists," Straight leaned back in 

wh,-^. /k' ."^ '' "'^ ^''"' ^'* his eyes half closed, 

•^IowSh r""r """' '"" ^''^''"^ ^•^"t his mouth 
How did Gault treat you just now ? " 

fu7l^^''^'T- '^"? '" ^"'"^^ '"1 ^ was *°>-e all over, so 

hat I wanted to chuck him out of the window, chaff;! a 

little, flung orders at me like brickbats, then fired me 

mi H , Mu r'^'t^- "^ '^°''^^' philanthropists were 
mild as milk, but this one's a terror. I rather like him " 
Hes not a bad sort," said Straight, "when you 
know him. He'll let you think for yoursdf, play your 
own game, and he's good pay." ' 

" Why leave him, then ? " 



ENTER THE LATE FIGHTING EDITOR 39 

" To better myself, of course. Some parties down on 
the eighth floor have taken me on as secretary. You'll 
see their shingle up, the ' Cyclone Explosives.' By the 
way, Haraldson, if you should want help, look in any 
time, and I'll give you a few pointers." 

Brand yawned. 

" Look here," continued Straight, " I don't want to 
tire you, but Gault ordered me to put you up to the 
routine of yoar office." 

Brand yawned again. 

'■ My dear fellow," he said, " I haven't slept for forty- 
eight hours, and up to this morning I had nothing to eat 
for three days. Eight hours ago I was a tramp, a 
ragged, dirty, hungry, shivering hobs; my partner is 
waiting for me somewhere by the docks, and the only 
business I feel like now is to feed that poor devil." 

" My dear Haraldson," said Straight, " if you told that 
to an average New Yorker, he would be seized of a 
sudden appointment up town. Take my advice, keep 
such things to yourself. Look here, can you be at your 
office at nine o'clock to-morrow? All right, I'll be 
there, and put you up to the ropes." 

" Thanks," said Brand, heartily. 

" By the way, Haraldson, have you arranged with any 
boarding-house ? Gault told me I'd better take you to 
mine, which — if you don't mind my saying so— would 
save you the trouble of paying in advance." 

" It was decent of Gault," said Brand, " to think of that 
— it's decent of you." 

" Don't mention it. A friendless stranger here needs 
pilotage." 

"Come along," he said, " it's getting on towards 
supper. Let's go and find the other tramp and give 
him a good square meal." 



CHAPTER VII 

AS REGARDS DYNAMITE 

THE Colonel refreshed his fiery beak in a cool white 
napkm wh.le Brand and Straight exchanged glances of 
sympathy But the veteran was regarding^Strfight with 

han^k^rchfef.'"'"^""'"" ''"^ '''^'^' ''^ ^^'^^^ 
"Sir," the voice was muffled, but the tone severe "I 
am not a mere military colonel. To me there is nothing 
more repulsive than the massing of armed hordes fof 
purposes of legalized massacre. I am a man of peace 
I seek o mifgate the sufferings of the human ra^. f 
feel at this moment," he threw down the napkin, « that 

Brand, I deem that, after the excellent dinner which 

^fhiT" T^r'^' *?'" '^^"^ conversation," he bowed, 
that, m fact— a cigar— would " 

1' ^."r "!!• 9*'°"*'" Straight tendered his cigar-case. 
Jwvl ''!Vu' ^°'°"^'' '"*°'«"S an air of stately 
affab.1.^ w>th his very, close inspection of Straight's 
cigars. -I honour the delicacy of your perception." ^ 

He selected judiciously. 
• "^7'" f*'^ Brand, ruminating over the conversation 
JUS closed ; "both of you seem to think that this dtyTs 

2TX° '^' "°''7' "^""'^ ""•^'^^t'^nd. I've heard say 
that thanks to Inspector Mogrell, robbery is pretty 
nearly unknown." ' ^ ^ 

40 



AS REGARDS DYNAMITE 4, 

Straight laughed. " That's so, but you must remem- 
ber thatyour successful American criminals are not law- 

burgty '^ '"^ '"""^ ^°' '"'='' '='"'"''y '^»<1« ^ 

••Not always," the Colonel retorted, as he accepted a 
match from Brand and lighted up; "I am reminded of 
a tnfling episode. but-no-I am not desirous of talk- 
mg this gentleman's legs off." 

StiSZ"- th' r '."""r '*•" ''^''' ^""'*- " P^""*de him, 
Straight , the Colonel's yarns are worth hearing " 

Straight persuaded. 

•• The matter relates," said the Colonel, " to the time 
when as a militant revolutionary "_he filled his gla.s 
and drank, then filled again. 
I ,, "^ mil'tant revolutionary!" said Straight. "Whv 
I Colonel, I thought you were a man of peace" 

i • "u ■' t ■".*" °^ ^^^^ ""^y ^ «" officer of the peace ■ 
m benighted Britain he may be a justice of the ^ace' 
You assume that I was inconsistent in observing the 
habits and customs of militant revolutionaries, and I 
would like you to inform me how such vermin may be 
studied, except from within the charmed circle of their 

I society. 

f„ ^i'^'^''*, '"T^^ *° ' P**''"S; waiter, and ordered coffee, 
lor the Colonel needed quieting. 

I "Some years ago," continued the old man, "I was 

employed by a certain great private detective bureau. 

which, he nodded to Brand, "shall be nameless A 

cert^n Irish gentleman engaged in our national Imert 

lean pursuit-office-seeking-was suddenly called away 

Ion business to Europe, and took with hfm-withlat 

teShrh •'" '"""" "^"^^^ "'>''=•> - eminentfySs! 
■tmguishes him-a parcel of French Rentes, belonging to 

fcS'eJ^Ir' °' "■" '■" '"'^ "■'^- T'"' trusted'Sd 
■^ade prompt inquiries at our bureau, and I was sent as 



43 



AS REGARDS DYNAMITE 



the supposed special correspondent of a certain news- 
paper to overtake the steamer in which the Irish gentle- 
man had taken passage. A newspaper man — friendly 
neighbour of ours — had a fast motor launch, which was 
placed at my disposal ; and by this means I caught up 
the Atlantic liner off Sandy Hook." 

"But," said Brand, "what connection could the 
newspaper man have with your detective bureau ? " 

" It is," the Colonel retorted, " a peculiarity of many 
Americans that they render to each other in emergen- 
cies the most disinterested services — for a consideiation." 

" Pardon me," said Straight, " may I ask the name of 
this newspaper man ? " 

" You may," said the Colonel, blandly. " As I was 
saying, I managed in the assumed capacity of special 
correspondent of a New York journal to overtake the 
steamer, and was asked by the purser — as a special 
favour, for which I paid handsomely — to share the berth 
occupied by a certain Irish gentleman. 

" The Irish gentleman was not cordial — appeared to 
resent my intrusion ; but I have ever been distinguished 
for my strong sympathies with a noble but suffering 
people " (this in a high nasal drawl) ; " had, in fact, 
become some months before a member of " 

Suddenly the Colonel winced, drew in his feet under 
the chair, and, by the movement of his hands below the 
table-cloth, appeared to be caressing his shins. Straight's 
hand was occupied, too, feeling his upper and lower lips, 
as though he were considering the necessity of being 
shaved. 

" Pardon my gout," said the Colonel, who had become 
white, even to his nose under Straight's inspection. 
" Fact is, that high living has played the deuce with my 
system." 

He wiped his forehead with the much-abused napkin. 



AS REGARDS DYNAMITE 43 

"As I was saying, anarchy, gentlemen, is egotism 
seated upon a tin-tack, anathematizing existing arrange- 
ments—reviling, promiscuous— then soothing itself with 
the doctrine that tin-tacks to sit upon must instantly be 
provided for all the rest of the human race. The Irish 
—did I say Irish?— I mean the German gentleman, 
developed his individuality all night, preaching Emanci- 
pation of the Slaves of Law, Liberation of the Race from 
the Bonds of Morality, Free Land, Free Drink, Free 
Love, Free Explosives, and Survival of the Egotist. 
Listen? GentLmen, I became an enraptured disciple; 

I realized that I had found my panacea that I was 

myself at last. I out-talked that German gentleman ; I 
developed my ego, I discoursed of my symptoms, I made 
him listen until breakfast-time to the psychological 
history of my individuality— I permitted no pause for 
refreshments, but pulverized him with facts about my 
mother, my grandmother, and all my progenitors ; and, 
finally, when he fell back into his bunk too far gone for 
luncheon, I indulged my personality with my usual 
matutinal cocktail. 

"Sir, that German gentleman was piloting a bclect 
excursion of Anarchists upon a mission to disintegrate 
the politicians of Europe— to play Guy Fawkes with 
the parliaments of civilization, to set loose the egotists 
now in bondage, and to establish a millennial Utopia in 
which every individual should be his own limited liability 
company, his own autonomous government, his own 
egoarchy. In that earthly paradise every man was to 
keep his own private calendar: delivered from the 
tyranny which ordains the arbitrary tides, the movable 
feasts, and the periodical baseball matches; free to 
celebrate Christmas once a week; to requisition an 
eclipse; to turn night into day; to call black white; to 
make two and two into a baker's dozen. Every man 



44 



AS REGARDS DYNAMITE 



was to be his own law ; property was to be that which 
the egotist could grab and hold on to; the Decalogue 
the time-table, and all market prices were to be formally 
abrogated ; morality was to be consigned to the refuse 
heap of disused conventions. In due course. 1 was 
introduced to my new brethren of the cause-six of them 
all heartily sick of each other, and only too eager to 
explam their symptoms to me. Each had but one 
subject— himself ; each was an untiring exponent of his 
own maladies ; every one of them had been pronounced 
incurable, and glorified in it. 

"One topic they had in common, a consignment of 
freight in the ship's cargo, labelled as canned tomatoes, 
bo long as the weather was calm they gloated over it ■ 
but when the barometer went down, they were uneasy • 
when the gale struck us, they met to gesticulate in 
whispers, too much scared even to be properly sea-sick • 
when the storm became a young hurricane, they wilted 
into their berths. That night I was sleeping as usual 
with one eye open, and a bolster propped against the 
edge of the bunk to keep me from being pitched out; 
and the German gentleman was being unwell at intervals 
in the lower pew, when our five fellow Anarchists, all 
m their night-clothes and sepulchral gloom, stole into 
the cabin. They aroused that German gentleman ; they 
stood him up on end ; they told him dot their hour vosh 
gome ; they shook him ; they tore their hair-that is 
two of them did while the others watched enviously 
unable to relieve their feelings-for they were bald 
Mem vnents.- said the German gentleman in English, 
which IS less risky than high Dutch for a sick man • If 
your hour vos come, tage it, mage der mosht of id • I 
vish you choy ! Go avay ; I vill be indisbosed.' 

The ship gave a lurch, which pitched the whole gane 
into a corner except the German gentleman, who hung 



AS REGARDS DYNAMITE 45 

shjfded Oh,thc. to."aSs,TrtooJS,P'«° ^°' 
whidfSlriH r^'«^ '^''* *« German gentleman, upon 

I^ifrntt'tr^''''*"''^''- 'OMemdomatoes. 
fhl""'!!'!:' '?''* \ '""S^- '='" Revolutionary, clingine to 
msDosom. The Initiate is awake 1 We are betraverf 1 

Wh'u'nd be cl"-'" " — '-'thesub.ime 

" 'Oh, zem domatoes ! zem domatoes I ' 
deck """" ^ """""^ °^ ^'^'f'"^'' ""-g" ""der the 

usbray?'"'^'"^' '"°^"'='' ^^e baldest conspirator. • led 

•l'lin^°t"hat'w/T."''''" '"^^ *•>" '^^" Revolutionist. 
1 am t that sort-I don't want to be blown to blaze, 
not by a long chalk. Tm going to the CapUin I wa„ 

with The I ■"°""'" ''^ ~"'°""'^^d responsibilTt e 
•^le'S^oma7oL"s5-"°""' °' '^"^-''^ '^'-"^'' - 

Besid?'?ofys':SeXTo btS^T?" V 

being a blasted Anarchist. Come along, before we' J 

blown into spring remnants.' ^ ^ "^^ 

" He rushed out of the cabin, the rest after him • then 

N^<n^~„!hTXr°'"""'"^'"^-^^ 
' As for me, I was pleased all to pieces at being alone 



46 



AS REGARDS DYNAMITE 



in the berth, because there was the German gentleman's 
baggage all lying around open-mouthed waiting to be 
inspected. I inspected all right, raked out the stolen 
bonds in a holy minute. Then I thought I might as well 
dress, so I dressed. Presently an officer came along to 
say that the Captain wanted me ; but for the life of me 
I couldn't make out what was proceeding till I was 
shown into the chart ro m and accused by the whole 
gang of conspirators with being an Anarchist. 

" I laughed — I had to. 

" Says the Captain : ' This, sir, is no laughing matter ; 
you are charged by these six gentlemen with having 
in this ship a number of cases of dynamite put up in 
tomato cans.' 

" ' That's all right. Cap.," says I ; ' guess you've got a 
list of your freight ; see who shipped these tomatoes and 
where they're consigned to.' 

" But for the life of him the Captain couldn't find any 
such freight in the purser's schedule, 

" ' Now, Captain,' says I, ' look at this, and don't read 
it aloud.' 

" He looked at my business card, saw that I was a 
detective, and said : 

"'Well, I'mblowedl' 

"'You air,' says I, 'you air for a fact. Now I want 
to see you alone.' 

"The conspirators were cleared out — told te go to 
bed. 

" ' Captain,' says 1, ' this little fuss was a put-up job ; 
it has given me the chance of recovering a parcel of 
French Rentes stolen in New York by one of these 
gentlemen. Lest the plunder should be recaptured 
before we get to Liverpool I want to place it in charge 
of the purser.' 

" I got the purser's receipt, told the Captain that I 



AS REGARDS DYNAMITE 47 

wanted this Anarchist business kept dark, then returned 

to my cabin. 
"But inside I heard voices ; moreover, seeing that I 

hate to interrupt confidential communications, I lingered 
I outside the door. And this is what I heard : 

"Mein broders, mein vrients,' said the German 
i gentleman, 'gompose yourself, my dear, bray gompose 
I yourself. I haf von gonfession to make mit you. Ven 
1 we depart of New Yorg, I vos incomplede, my dear, 
I vith mein brebarations — mein derangements — I vos oud 

of order vith mein gontents. I haf not zhipped der 

tomatoes, mein broders— they vill be lefd oud— ain't it. 
I Dot gonsignment of tomatoes vos remain'd beyont I ' 
' "The baldest man sobbed on his neck, the lean 

conspirator swore ; they all embraced, they cried : ' Denk 
J Heffen I * They declared him the greatest revolutionary, 
I the wisest Individualist, the supreme Egoist of the age. 
I Ravachol had not been martyred in vain, the blood of 
I the heroes who had laid down their lives for the Cause 
I blossomed in him, as a refulgent consummation which 
I should yet deluge mankind with the sweets and spices of 
I Freedom. As for me, when I returned to the bosom of 
I my fellow-conspirators, I was greeted as a genius who 
■ had rescued them when on the eve of betrayal. 
I "Yes, sir, three hairy revolutionaries and three bald, 
Iretired to their bunks as jubilant as though each of them 
Ihad discovered an entirely new symptom, resolved to 
I send back for their belated infernal machines, to hurl 
Itomato cans full of dynamite into many another innocent 
■gathering of women and children, and at last to die in a 
■blaze of publicity as befitted Egoarchs of the supreme 
|Revolution. 

"Before we parted at Liverpool I accepted the 

privilege of blowing up the House of Commons ; and I 

guess they trusted that I wouldn't make such a lament- 



48 AS REGARDS DYNAMITE 

able hash of that business as the late G. Fawkes. As to 
the German gentleman, he was so much excited by my 
oratory that he never discovered how he could possibly 
have mislaid those Rentes. 'A dying pequest,' he 
explained, ' from mein peloved barents.' 

" Committed them for trial at Liverpool ? My dear 
young sir, have you boiled your brains ? Do you claim 
to be a digitated biped 7 Now, without evidence against 
them, what earthly advantage could these Anarchists be 
to the police 7 They couldn't use them, couldn't play 
with them, couldn't pawn them, nobody in his senses 
would buy them, they weren't fit for birthday presents, 
they weren't worth exhibiting, they wouldn't hire out." 

" But the dynamite ? " 

" I warned the Customs to keep their eyes peeled for 
canned tomatoes ; but as to the lunatics, they didn't 
know enough to be dangerous ; and in gaol they would 
have preached through a thousand interviewers, filling 
the newspapers with the doctrine of indiscriminate 
massacre. No, sir, the Press is injurious enough with its 
appetite for divorce, the sweepings of the police courts, 
gambling tips, and promiscuous filth, without being made 
a pulpit for Anarchists." 

" Colonel," said Straight, with delightful suavity, " are 
you an Englishman — I mean by descent 7 " 

" Sir, are you wishful to insult me 7 " 

"Not the least. The English have always been as 
glorious in war as tk=y were eager for peace. Their 
archers, too, were famo> in all the centuries for the 
length of their bows." 

" Sir I " the Colonel bristled. 

" Say, Brand " — Straight glanced at his watch — " I 
must introduce you to my landlady within fifteen 
minutes, or she'll have gone to bed." 

He began to put on his overcoat. 



AS REGARDS DYNAMITE 



49 



■■ I piets," taid Brand, " I'll ileep here. There are 
iedroomt right up-stairs, and the Colonel will be my 
^est for to-night Say, Straight, you'll be at the 
Rice at nine ? Well, so long ; I'm dog-tired." 
I Some time after Straight's departure Brand and 
le Colonel had retired to their respective rooms ; 
^d Brand, already half-undressed, was seated on the 
Ige of his bed reviewing the day's events in a gentle 
kerie, when suddenly an idea struck him, which 
lused an immediate invasion of the Colonel's room. 
1 " Say," he exclaimed, then paused, for the old gentle- 
nn was discovered hastily concealing the imperfections 
f his toilet between the sheets. 
("Well?" 

["Colonel, have you heard of the Tsar and the 
\liph?" 

" I have, considerable." 
[*' Do you think they carried tomatoes ? " 
^I shouldn't wonder, young man. Tomatoes are 

easingly popular in benighted Europe." 



CHAPTER VIII 



ENTER THE PRIEST 

Of course, a lady who is valued at two million dollars 
ought to be bored and live in a palace ; for if she does 
not submit to social prescription, she must be mad j and 
the only difficulty about dealing with such a woman is 
that one cannot very well cut a millionairess. Even 
Haraldson was a little put out on finding that Miss 
Hilda lived in a dismal slum, which was odorous of 
beer, Polish Jews, and general frowsiness; that the 
address denoted a tenement house, draped copiously 
with the week's washing ; and that the apartments were 
up five flights of grimy stairs. 

When, at last, a little servant maid admitted him to a 
snug room — an oasis of neatness and cleanliness in the 
great wilderness of dirt— Brand discovered Hilda casting 
up accounts at her writing-table ; and a woman, that 
sniffed, was rocking a baby that howled in an improvised 
cradle by the stove. There was no end of a row, for, 
besides these performers and the canary in full song 
outside the window, the maid began to rattle teacups in 
the adjacent kitchen, and beyond the thin party-wall was 
a piano in torment. 

" Is that you. Brand ? " said Hilda, without looking 
up. " Isn't that piano awful ! But don't listen, and you 
won't hear it What's fifty-seven and eighteen ? " 

"Seventy-five," said Brand promptly, wondering 
50 



ENTER THE PRIEST 



51 



meanwhile how women could consent to Directoire frockf 
when they could all dress as nurses and be beautiful. 

" Thanks. And ninety-five make one-six-one ; less 
thirty-three is one-nine-four. Do be good, and comfort 
my slum baby— left on my hands last night, poor little 
fellow. Oh, dear me, these accounts! There"— she 
I looked up with a hurried little laugh ; " now I've a poor 
thing waiting for me in the surgery, but I'll soon be 
I back again." 

The sunlight, every ray of it, seemed to follow Hilda 
; into the next room. During her absence Brand played 
I with the slum baby, the which poor little ragged varmint 
i took him entirely into confidence, danced up and down 
on his knee, crowing with delight as it clutched, with 
; clammy paws, at his face. 

The sniffing woman looked on at this with wondering 
I disdain ; but when Brand suggested that she seemed to 
have a very bad cold, big tears began to run down her 
.cheeks. " Ef you please, sir," she sobbed, "it's me 
pushing, which 'es no sooner out of the Tombs to-day for 
|«rson, when he went for me with a flat-iron, sir ; and 

I when I 'owled, 'e called me a , sir, which I ain't, and 

|never was, if you please, sir, but a respectable woman, 
I'although I sez it as shouldn't, being come of a good 
Ifamily in the public-'ouse way down in 'Ampshire, and 
Ime own uncle a clergyman and fair broken-'earted with 
]'is w'ys." 

'Good gracious," muttered Brand to himself, " is this 
f iddish she's talking ? " 
"And it isn't true, sir, as I burnt the 'ouse, and turned 
IStite's evidence agen 'im, which I'd ought ter have, s'elp 

-le; but as I says afore, I'm " 

" Now, Katie, no more tears ; you must give this 
(gentleman a rest." 

The woman who snifTed relapsed into silence, for 
E 2 



52 



ENTER THE PRIEST 



Hilda with her attendant sunshine was coming in from 
her surgery, much amused at the game Brand was 
playmg with the slum baby. 

^^ "Katie," said Hilda, at which the woman stood up 
come here." She came, wondering. " Up the street a 
little way there's a church. It's called the Church of 
the Redeemer, and the doors are always open. Go 
dear, sit down there in one of the pews— nobody will 
trouble you— and rest until it's quite dark. Then come 
back to me. There, that's right" 
The sniflSng woman slouched out. 
"Now," said Hilda, shutting the window and closing 
out all the noise of the city. " H'm, yes, turn round, the 
back has pleats, and the sleeves hang like felons, but 
still that suit is an improvement, you look almost decent. 
Now for tea. Barbara I Barbara I Tea at once I" 

" Right y'are," cried Barbara from the kitchen, " it's 
coming in a howly minute." 

" Why," asked Brand, as he watched the process, « do 
you wear that dress— some sisterhood ? " 

"No. I belongtoaguild of working nurses. Each of 
us looks after a little district as a friend of the very poor 
We wear this dress-not very homely, is it?-because 
we never could venture about the slums alone without 
some sort of uniform to protect us among the toughs." 

Homely I was there ever a dress so becoming I As 
Brand looked at her bright, golden-brown hair, the 
radiant health of her face, strong regular features, deep 
blue eyes and all the witchery of loving earnestness 
hair-veiled under an outward gaiety, he felt that the 
slums might well be envied. Surely Hilda was the 
very loveliest woman in all the worid. 

"These toughs," he growled, "if they don't respect 
you— ought to be massacred." 
"Don't be so fierce," said Hilda, "they all help me 






ENTER THE PRIEST jj 

!?™1h*!!^''wI°^*""- ^^'"''^^ What's there to be 
afraid of? Why. do . ,u know that once when a new 
roundsman was rude to me -a dozen toughs jumped on 
h.m and they'd have 'kicked in his face'-tha!^ t^e 
local etiquette-unless I had called them off. Yes they 
of° tS \ *" M^""' ''''''^"">'' ""^ '■*'" ^° good-naiured 
their traditional manners and customs. I don't allow 
them even the natural right of whipping their wives." 

nrl^A VI '*!'' •'^''^ '° '■''"P' *»"''"g the while to 
Brand of her work, her failures, her triumphs. Even 
before tea was brought in Brand felt that he had 

^"ppi'g' "■=' ' ^'^ '"^' •" ^" •^'•^ "f'-'* «-at 

Over the tea-tray she began to draw him out, with all 

a woman's craft. How had he liked Dick Straight and 

did he notice that man's wonderful black, searching e^es ? 

No Brand had not noticed that in particular. 

And Marshall, was Marshall civil ? 

"Yes, civil as civil war ; direct as a gun." 

"So thaf s the business side of him ! Ah, that is the side 
we women never see-the hypocrite I And the office ? " 

Now. provided that it is done with tact, every man 
Ikes to be "drawn," indeed, most men like It enough to 
throw im^diments in the way and lengthen the dainty 
game, so Brand was reticent. 

« Come," said Hilda at last, "tell me all about it." 

"About what?" 

"Your work, of course." 

"Oh yes," he pulled out his pocket-book. « I ^ot an 
advance of pay— that sets me square " 

She took the roll of bills without comment. "Well ? " 

"Say," he pointed through the muslin blinds at some 
flowers in pots that were balanced on the outer sill, 
amt you afraid of committing manslaughter?" 



54 



ENTER THE PRIEST 



"Well? "she repeated. "Well? You were saying " 

" Oh, the work ? Why, what earthly interest can that 
have for you ? I dunno — Straight showed me so much 
of it this morning that it makes my head swim to think 
of it. Pigeon-holes, that's all — with crimes instead of 
pigeons, swindling in one, politics in the next, then 
murder, robbery, burglary, shop-lifting, lynching, wreck- 
ing, arson, kidnapping, resurrecting — all sorts of nasty 
sins I can't talk about ; one sin to each pigeon-hole. 
Every day come heaps of papers, magazines, books, 
from which I have to cut out information to lie in the 
holes and get dusty ; then there's the index to post up, 
and — there you are." 

" But what do you do with it all ? " 

"Keep my mouth shut until the Boss sends down 
papers and witnesses about some dirty business that 
wants showing up. Then I look over what I have in 
the index, refer to the pigeon-holes, swallow all the 
information, write an article, send it to the solicitor to 
see if it's libel, and keep a copy on file. That's all there 
is to it — muzzled dog growls to order." 

"But what an audience to growl to— after a mere 
Revolversburg I " 

" That's all very fine, but what's the use of the growls 
when they're never published? Two-thirds of the 
pigeon-holes have copies of past editorials, most of 
them never printed. Straight says that the solicitor 
always advises silence — ' not enough evidence,' ' not 
expedient at the present moment,' ' libel will cost more 
than it's worth ' — muzzled dog told to shut up." 

"So muzzled dog comes here to growl, eh? I like 
your growls, watch-dog, but what a mercy you're not 
allowed to ravage — you'd have us all in gaol I Have 
some more tea." 

He looked at her across the tea-table, at all her de- 



ENTER THE PRIEST 



55 



lightrulness, which made the blood race in his veins; 
was there ever such a woman 7 

" I don't want to ravage, I'd like to let the dirty 
people go their own dirty ways. I'm always sorry 
when I have to tear them out by the roots, because 
I'm not so all-iired good myself, and I hate spoiling 
their games. I pull up weeds to make room for more 
weeds, kill big dragons when I know that every drop 
of their blood breeds a little dragon. What is the 
use of destroying — I want to build, like you." 

" I suppose we're both necessary. Brand." She turned 
away her face. " You pull the naughty people off 
their perches, I patch them up again to do some more 
mischief. Most of my folk are all patches, with only 
their sins to hold them together, poor things." 

"Besides, that's not the worst," he interrupted her. 
Then, with sudden exasperation, " A whole lot of fools 
have been at me all day, wanting to interview me about 
Revolversburg. I'm up on the posters just like some 
popular murderer, and because I wouldn't be interviewed 
these reporters have columns of trash about me in all the 
papers. I'll smash the vermin when I get my chance." 

" Dear me, dear me," said a gentle voice, just behind 
them. " My good young man, I can't have Miss Hilda 
tomyhawked or Revolversburged. It won't do, you 
must treat her with more consideration." 

Hilda looked up, laughing. " He wasn't scalping me. 
Father Jared. It's quite safe. Now, you must let me 
introduce Mr. Haraldson, of Revolversburg." 

" Quite unnecessary to introduce me ; I knew the 
Dragon Slayer by what came out of his mouth — flames 
and reproaches. Well, Mr. Haraldson, after all that 
I've heard of you from Miss Gault, not to mention the 
newspapers, I am glad to welcome a very necessary man 
to New York." 



S6 



ENTER THE PRIEST 



So Brand found himself shaking hands with a little 
old Anglican clergyman, so frail that he might have 
been blown away, who looked up at him with a 
glance so searching that it seemed to recognize all his 
pet sins so genial that it ,.as a pleasure to be found out 
^^ Sit down, sir," said Brand, offering his chair. 
" H'm, my coat, young man." 

Brand helped him to take off his coat, and relieved him 
of hat and stick, while Hilda busied herself preparing 
fresh tea, so that, between the two. Father Jared was 
made quite comfortable. Brand settled himself on a 
stool beside the stove, looking up at the old man's face 
with some curiosity; for the Father seemed to have 
brought more sunshine than ever into the little room 
and m his hazel eyes there was something that he had 
never seen before-the peace that passeth all under- 
standing. It was a delicate, almost transparent, face 
clean-shaven, seamed with the wrinkles of great age the 
features perfectly regular, the wavy hair snow-white 

ai".^" "°*f^^"u "''°"' *'' ^y^'' '^^ ^«"^'«ve lines' 
S the mouth there was a suggestion of humour. 

of a s^t^S' """'^ °'^'""^ '"'^' *•= -J-»>' 

Se ^°"* '**^ *° '^"*'**=' ^^ 

•• Young scapegrace," said the priest, •' I was about to 
make some enquiries after you. Dick Straight told me " 
he turned to Hilda, "that he wouldn't come to the 
boarding-house last night, because he was beguiled away 

eh sir r'^''' '^'^'' '"°' * '"'"' ™"'**'y '='''°""='' 

"I didn't know." Brand answered, "that Straight 
would have brought me to you." Somehow the prfes 
seemed to be an old friend already. ^ 



ENTER THE PRIEST j; 

wors?;vn]'ih!/°"r" ^ '"P""^*'- y»" fl«d from 
worse evils that you knew not of I Well, I'm glad I've 

rt ^h \rt^°" " '^'*"' y°"»«'^ '" f"*"--* o" pain 
ot—jiuroph— that's neuralgia I " 

,J^ ?''^ u""'"u''''. '^*='' '" *"■" <=•'*'■' ^i A h« eyes closed 
and only by the little tremor of his clenched h!rw7. 

could anybody know that he was sufTelU'^^rl';,^^^^ 

S^r^ Tl't- ^'^"-^ '° ^ =■"«="'• «"d °ne could he^ 

fl^sh tea ' °" '''' "^" "•'"'' ^•'^ ?--<» -t h- 

J Come, Father," she roused him, ■• this will make you 

hu'mlnS' ' H°" •*'"'?' ''"T ^''**''' e"*^ fordamaged 
numanity He sipped eagerly with his spoon, and ate 

b ead and butter, commenting on the slum baby wSe he 
tried to forget his pain. He seemed to succeed for it 
eTpt^cu;.'^^ """= '^"^"^ °^'^"'='*'^«' ^^ -tt'wl'the 

ingnam"e1'"'"''''°'''"'*' """"'=''= "'^''^*'*" '"*««'''- 
" Interesting ? Why interesting ? " 

rea7!LTm''''^r '*'Tu^°""^ -nan, when one learns to 
read them. Yours, like my name Nisted, is old Scan 
dinavian. Although you're American and I'm EnSh' 
we are both of Norse descent." English, 

"T}^T.^ ""^ "^?^ '"'y meaning?" asked Brand 
That never occurred to me." "«na. 

'• Yes Brand is a sword-sometimes a burning sword • 

knw yet ; but. perhaps-who knows ? " ' ^ ^°" ' 
PuriX"'''* '^°"'"*^«'d«»''-«n?" asked Hilda. 



58 



ENTER THE PRIEST 



" ' Haraldson ' ? Child of Harald, of the fair hair. 
You might well be descended from him. Yes, there's a 
great deal in names— at least, to an old man's fancy ; 
but there, wind me up, put a nickel in the slot, and the 
old man lectures — has to, couldn't help it if he tried — 
so beware I " 

Hilda had bent down to close the damper of the stove, 
now she looked up. " Who was your father, Brand ? " 

" Or possibly," suggested the priest, " he objects to 
this catechism." 

" Not at all ; but I don't know, sir. First thing I 
remember was sitting blubbering in a doorway ; but 
a gentleman took me in out of the snow, and let me sleep 
on a buffalo-robe before the stove. He talked to me in 
Danish ; but I can't speak a word of it now." 

" What happened after that ? " 

" I was a bootblack in Chicago. I was about ten, and 
a hard citizen — I'm thirty now, I suppose. Then I got 
taken on in an engine-shop ; used to go to night-school — 
I could lick the stuffing out of every boy there, teachers 
and all ; but I smashed a preacher's jaw, so they pitched 
me out I was a wiper at the time, then firing the yard 
engine ; but when I got to be about nineteen I was on 
the Pacific express — had the promise of the first vacant 
berth as engineer. That was the time I got smashed up, 
and met Miss Hilda." 

It seemed quite natural to Brand that he should con- 
fess his past misdeeds to this old gentleman, who could 
see through and through him anyway, so that conceal- 
ment would be useless. 

" I know that story, my son," said Father Jared. " So 
my old friend, Michael Gault, had three children- 
Hilda, yourself, and Marshall — all from highways and 
hedges, even as our Master has ever chosen His 
servants." 



CHAPTER IX 

A FIREBUG WOMAN 

The tenement where Hilda had rooms stands at the 
comer of N'th Street on one of the long thoroughfares 
extending northward into the residential districts. This 
avenue had been, until quite recently, a very citadel of 
respectability, but now its tail was profaned by the 
growth of the slums, and above N'th Street the panic- 
stricken houses were protesting themselves : " Desirable 
Residences," " Magnificent Building Sites," " Apartments 
for Single Gents," "To Let," "To Rent," "For Sale." 
All were hopelessly demoralized; some were being 
pulled down to make room for tenements; one or 
two had abandoned the last vestiges of their self- 
respect, and swarmed with Polish Jews. Up this 
desecrated avenue Father Jared conducted Brand to 
a house only three doors above Hilda's tenement— a 
doubled-breasted mansion, built for a semi-suburban 
residence by some old-time merchant. This was Mrs. 
Papps* boarding-house, as attested by the brass door- 
plate. Within, a bell was jangling that announced a 
quarter of an hour, during which the guests could gird 
up their loins for the supper-struggle ; so there was time 
for Brand to be presented to Mrs. Papps, to be iuitdltd 
m a bedroom, and to wash his hands before the second 
bell brought an avalanche of boarders down the stairway. 

Straight met Brand on the stairs with 3 cordial 
59 



fc A FIREBUG WOMAN 

welcome, explained that Father Jared had his meals In 
private, and warned him that there would be no supper 
left unless they made all possible haste to the basement 
Well the boarders obeyed the national American ad- 
monition, "In haste Shalt thou eat it;" for the Misses 
Papps were discovered rushing round the long table 
with cups of green tea, Mr. Papps stood at the head 
ladling hash with desperate energy, while every free 
citizen seized and devoured such hot biscuits, pickles, 
or other indigestibles as lay within reach. 

Brand had little to say ; not much to eat ; but the 
other boarders were in like condition, since the human 
race allows no breathing time to Americans, and the 
poor wight who is led into conversation shall not get 
any pie. Within ten minutes of the rush for seats, most 
of the men had selected from the bowls of toothpicks, 
with which the long table was adorned, and there 
remained only the weaker, late, and more ruminative 
boarders. 

When it was all over, the scramble, the goi^e, the 
selection of a toothpick, and the escape, Brand followed 
Straight up-stairs, and ruminated over a pipe in his 
friend's bedroom. 

The window was open wide, and the two men stood 
looking out upon the purple dusk of evenin^r with stars 
glittering above, and electric arcs sizzling down in the 
shadowy street. The breath of the young summer was 
on their faces, the peace of evening stole in upon their 
souls, and they smoked with the silent solemnity of 
devotees. 

" Down-stairs," said Straight, " there was a crowd of our 
abject boarders in the smoking-room, waiting to shake 
hands with the Revolversburg hero— the only American, 
except the lamented George Washington, who ever told 
the truth. Up-stairs lurks Father Jared in his web. 



A FIREBUG WOMAN g, 

wanting the monstrosity all to himself for the evenine- 
for supper/' Then Straight looked sorrowfuj- at h« 

" Whose bones ? " 
And^tTr'* "^"-n u ""* •"" ^^ •«" t«J''«i to death, 
the true bel.evers who are to reform mankind-^ mighty 
SrtaS^ '"' ""' ^aithfuUmighty dull time S^ 

"What's it all about though ? " 
abiiuj r ^"'"^ ^"" '^"'""' ^'^ '"'°'' ^h**"' it a" 

Brand seized his persecutor by the nape of the neck. 

" Leave go, you hulking brute ! " 

Brand laughed, and let eo. 

"Well?" 

Jl It- *" ''''°'!' *'"'**'■ *'" "*y »''«» 1^ governed by 
annixeTf" °' *''\P™'"«''— Aether the revenue shall Z 
annexed for private use of the Mayor and Corporation 
or whether we are to be so pure that the profan^ cyclist' 

as m the holy c.ty of Chicago. My lord, which camp 
do you choose, are you a thief or a prude ? " ^ 

" What do you mean ? " 

nl^l *" ^'!°^ P™*^'' ""*' '^'°"8 t° Father Jared's 
Club-,t meets up-stairs ; but first he will exact a 

h tTeT?:;' ' '"^T"- ^'^^ trusts. I swear to Ik^ 
in the Z)«/^^i„„^,^/. and so forth. I want to warn vou 

L7 S '' '''T L° """"^ •'"'^ - tiJ°oTK 

renol ^ l''" "^y^" '^°" '""''t embrace and 
renounce and abjure to his heart's content, you must 

prepares you for the club in a way you'd never expect 



63 



A FIREBUG WOMAN 



Remember this, that with all hit whims, the Father's 
a real live twentieth-century saint, that some of the 
greatest men in the country are proud to have him for 
a leader, and there are many of us who'd count it a 
privilege to fight anybody who isn't civil to him. 

" Now the spider lurks ready in his web, so come along 
and be butchered." 



At midnight Straight came in from the city and, 
knocking at Father Jared's door, found the old man 
enjoying a pipe with Brand. 

" Come in, Dick," said he ; " glad to see you, my son. 
This youngster is helping me to while away part of the 
long night — looks sleepy ? Where have you been this 
evening ? " 

" Had a pretty good time," said Dick, " with my 
friend Captain Pat, of the police. He quite opened his 
heart when he found that I'd quit the fighting editor- 
ship." 

He sat down in a cane-chair, rolled a cigarette, and 
lighted it with a spill at the stove. 

" Who's Captain Pat ? " asked Brand. 

" Yes, Dick, tell Brand about our local politics," the 
old man chuckled. " That will open his eyes." 

" Let's see — the police." Straight pulled at his pipe, 
ruminating. " Let's see. Enter Pat, a raw immigrant, 
just kicked out of the Irish Constabulary, His precious 
countrymen meet him at Castle Garden, explain how 
New York is run by the Tammany Gang, the Tammany 
Gang by Dr. Clewston — all for the benefit of wideawake 
Irish lads. They'll make him a millionaire if he joins 
the police, which is easy enough if one has friends in 
ofRce. So a professional dummy is hired to pass Pat's 
examination, and the bribe for initiation is borrowed 
money. Once in the force, Pat is sent on his beat to 



A FIREBUG WOMAN 



63 



collec blackmail, three-fourths of it for the District 
Capuln one-fourth for himself. Pat clears himself of 

hundred dollars for promotion to Roundsman, three 
thousand for the rank of sergeant, fifteen thousand for 
h.s captamcy Now Mrs. Pat has his pay for her pin 
money, wh.le he keeps fast trotters, a yacht, a country 

J^ow'^r^VorkT'""'"''- '"'=''^"'"' O"-^-^-' 
"Alas! blackmailing is not what it used to be 

'^MfS''"v°VT'-J^' green-goods man always 
paid the police twelve thousand a year for a licence to 
circulate forged money, but now Clewston collects a 
second licence, and the green-goods man goes broke." 
FatW- ''' Father, "tell Brand about the City 

„/* '' l"""^ '° '■B"°fa''t ? Well, the venerable Sachems 
Of the Tammany Gang would scorn to deal in blackmail. 
They sit in receipt of bribes, sell tramway rightii for so 

Z^ /k-.?:. ^*. '°'""'^*'' ^°' " wn'-ideration to the 
highest bidder, handle the local rates, take care that the 
peoples money shall not be wasted on drains or pave- 
year "~ Clewston's silence costs them a million a 

Straight turned to Brand with a dry smile. "Beats 

fS'rl"'^; n'.\ ^y "^^ ^^y- """^^'n. your 

frend Colonel Giggleswick, should be more cautious ■ 
Clewstons officers are not allowed to talk about his 
'Dynamite Department'" ""« ms 

"What?" 

Y.;u?houYd'rl'-"'''"'°""*'^ 

,hl'^f '*f ""^ '° ''" *''^*' *"'' ^'""S Straight by the 

—what do you mean ? " «• 7 



64 A FIREBUG WOMAN 

" Euy, man," Straight sneered. " I'm not made of 
wood, and I'm not Clewston — neither am I hit flunkey. 
Colonel Giggleswiclc. The Catipk and the Ttar have 
been dynamited ; the ' King Line ' is probably doomed. 
You will remember that Miss Gault's money is in the 
'King Line,' and you expressed," Straight chuckled, 
" tome little interest in Miss Gault Ask your Colonel 
why his late master, Rex Clewston, is interested in 
smashing the ' King Line ' of steamers." 

Brand collapsed into his chair again. 

"Goon." 

" Oh yes." Straight appeared to be very much amused. 
" Father Jared asked me to open your eyes a little. 
Well, New York, as I said, is run by Tammany, except 
occasionally, when the voters wake up— as in the case 
of the Tweed Gang — send their venerable rulers to 
penitentiary, and put the prudes in power. After all, 
the City Government only steals to the limits of its 
opportunities, but the State Government plays a larger 
game, also on behalf of the esteemed Clewston. 

"As to Washington, but the federal capital is 
classic ground — named after the man who always told 
the truth — where puppet administrations are set up by 
the Trusts to pull the strings of national finance, to 
amuse the nation with foreign politics, while the depart- 
mental thieves plunder eighty million of fools. And 
this again is Dr. Clewston's meat." 

The priest intervened. 

" Come, Dick, you're going too far I " 

" But not so far as Clewston." 

Brand almost shoved the priest aside. " How is it 
Clewston's meat ? " 

" Because if public servants steal, whether in city, 
state, or republic, such public servants are the natural 
prey of any blackmailer strong enough to threaten." 



A FIREBUG WOMAN 



65 



The priest groaned. " And this is civilization I " 
"Civilization?" Straight Uughed bitterly. "The 
gods stage a comic opera-our civilization I From the 
repudiation of the Southern Banks after 1837 to this 
ghastly Clewston mystery of to-day. and chaos to-mo, row 
-civilization! From Siberia to the Argentine , p^^k 
of lies— civilization I » 
" Only a step to something better, my son ' 
" Then," cried Straight, ' let us go on I " 
M am a mere alien," said the Father, ■rju t ,mt of 
date no doubt very funny and old-fashio, c i. i ,m,:o 
me for not understanding how you Amehcans r.ati ,^ 
all that is good and beautiful personally, yet in -our 
corporate capacity such villains." 

" Because, sir," Straight answered affably. " we arc :io 
busy bemg good and beautiful that we must leave you 
foreigners to run our affairs. When we wake up and 
chuckout, for instance, all the alien Irish politicians; when 
our b«t men have leisure for politics, the human vote 
won t be sold in the open market— we shall be a Republic " 
n. IT™." "^ American," Brand growled, " and I believe in 
the United States where the ablest men always get to 
we top. The politicians are able enough to run us The 
Trust magnates are able enough to run the politicians. 
If there are reformers able enough to run the Trust 
magnates, well— let the strongest win." 
"And" Straight sneered, "damn the moralities I" 
I side with Haraldson," said the priest. " for a strong 
hngis forgiven all the vices; but a weak king cannot 
be redeemed by all the virtues." 

Said Brand, •• I judge by results. I see clean homes 
tt.e people well fed, well clothed, well schooled, hard-' 

c,^,W ^'"TT' '^' """"'"S '"«^"^tri«=^. the in- 

e^ Jr*'*'" ""^ '■^P''^ S™*"' °f the nation, the 
envy of foreign powers " 



66 



A FIREBUG WOMAN 



"And," Straight interrupted, "the average man who 
used to be honest on Sundays, now works seven days 
of the week." 

The priest sighed, but Brand was swift in retort : " I 
judge by results. I saw San Francisco burned, the 
suffering of the people, the way they stood the test ; no 
man who has seen our people in trouble will ever doubt 
their greatness." 

" It may be old-fashioned," said the priest, " to talk 
about the kind of honesty which stands even the test of 
prosperity. I look back " 

"To England, sir," Straight must needs interrupt. 
" You remember the days of her glo-/ when the men 
were unselfish enough to bear arms, and the women to 
bear children. England was held up to us as an example 
then ; and even now the Britisher has missions to every- 
one but himself. His first necessity is food, so he 
manufactures everything else under heaven. His second 
necessity is men, so he kills out the farmer a id breeds 
cockneys. One week of social incompetence in England 
does more harm than a year of political wickedness 
here." 

" Oh," ventured Father Jared. " But the Empire ! " 

Straight laughed in his grim, sardonic, bloodless way, 
" You speak, sir, of the healthy branches, I of the hollow 
trunk." 

Brand chuckled then, " Straight almost tempts me, 
sir, to the defence of England." 

" Why, you dear lads, if my country were attacked by 
any foreign power, you'd take up arms for her ! " 

"I believe," said Brand, glowing with enthusiasm, 
"that our Northern Race is the best thing the 
Almighty ever invented, if the world is to get anything 
done." 

" I believe so, too," answered Straight. " Poor world ! " 



A FIREBUG WOMAN 67 

His long white fingers, from force of habit were 

■ th t"^„ t^T""" '""'' ''^'"e ^•'-^ vocation 'in life 
I they needed no instructions, nor did they venture tn 
I °btn.de up„„ ,, ^^^^^^^ ^^ heTarb"rlVg° 

4 Jared, "how about our recruit?" 

i "„'1"\'"'k '*''*': *'"= '''"""«^'" ""id the old man 

I b^Z—^"' °"'^ '° *" "'""■^'^'^ "-"l- the colours 
I Straight, who had seemed to be paying not the 

I Hsfenr '"'=''"°"' "°" '"'""•P*^^ hi^- "hLSI 

iH^^^'^ '""' ■" "'^ '^" ^''^ '^^ -- '---& toward 
There was a slight jarring sound as of a piece of 

tttoT at:f. '"°^^''' '''- ^ -^' "->' ^-^^" a-L' 
"Do you hear that, sir?" 
" I?' /'''f "°t'"d the noise for some minutes Cats 

tr^r xa;;sro;r^-"-^"--s 

beSSr2erftotLw°"t-:-°f 
precautions of silence the three !;„ lie p a flfehTof 

n^th^S;:^:?^\^S^.:i^^^ 

upon the roof of the house The p7ace tas d1 k a"nd 
eene, but a ray of moonlight, through ^ne of tSe 
vindows, made plain a dozen or so of l^esu" tables , 

mmmm 



68 



A FIREBUG WOMAN 



furthest corner. As the three men stood watching, their 
eyes gradually becoming accustomed to the darkness, 
the object in the corner appeared to be a woman on her 
knees twisting something in her hand that rustled like 
paper, which presently she added to the white line 
trailmg away behind the tables. A ray of light shot 
across the darkness as she opened a lantern ; then she 
looked about her nervously, sniffed, glanced along the 
tram that she had made of twisted newspapers, and 
uttered a little sigh of satisfaction. Taking up the end 
of her fuse, she thrust it into the flame of the lantern, 
dropped it burning on the floor, and closed the "bulls- 
eye" with a sudden click as she rose to rush to the 
door. But when she saw three men barring her exit the 
woman shrieked, falling prone upon the floor. 

"I couldn't 'elp it," she screamed, "ifs me 
usbmg as made me do it— 'e's w-iting houtside— Mercy I 
Mercy ! " ' 

The flame she had lighted was writhing along the 
naphtha-soaked fuse ; already it had crawled behind 
the tables, casting a red glare up against the roof; 
but Straight ran past the woman, and quenching the 
part which was burning, stamped out the embers with 
his heels. Then he turned on the lights. 

Brand, shading his eyes from the sudden glare, looked 
down at the incendiary, and whistled softly. " Hello I " 
he cried, " it's the sniffing woman I I saw her to-day at 
Miss Gault's rooms." 

" Yes, sir," moaned the woman ; "you was the toff as 
nursed that biby. I know you've a kind 'art : don't be 
'ard on me." 

" And your 'usbing ? " said Brand. 

" Why," said Straight— coming out from behind the 
curtains—" she's got oil and kindlings piled up two feet 
high under the dais-table. There, look I " 



A FIREBUG WOMAN 



69 

" IJidn't mean no 'arm." pleaded the woman. " I've 

"Get up off the floor." said Father Jar*d. "Don't 
be afraid my good woman; for no him shall come 

aS it^^ • '" ''°'"''' '"'** '«" "" ''" 

"I daresn't! I daresn't!" she cried. "If dew- 

tt'wmr " "' ''°"^"^ "' '*' ^'^J''" '""'>- "" 

Bl^'"''.r^ ^'''^'^r *" '^° *'* *'■"'" growled 

JoHl-rr'^ ..*'"' ^"^ '"'^'"^ '" the TomLVif 
you dont confess. 

J Hush I Brand." said the priest; "you only frighten 

old man s persuasion, was presently induced to talk. 

It was Clewston's 'tecs., sir. as made me eive the 
ZT:1 t!l ^^ ^"-*»-P«°P'« - -rnts wTbuiC 

Z,lt r '"T"'''- ■^'^ '"^" ="' °^' this 'ouse 
sends for me. and. sez 'e. 'I'll p-y you liberal if you 
makes .t accidental enough; and there's 7*' along 

f co^HhrS.?- ''' '•="*""^"* -""'• "^^ — 
"What, from where Miss Gault lives?" 

c Jn^ Th™'"', '^"'^'1 "-eassured. She had stopped 
T!JF' °"'y occasionally sniffed, 

tn If u ''^' *"'^. ^ *^"* *° '^'■^^ Gault this very di" 

me Sfi?1 " '"' '° " =h»^=h-as if the loik^s of 
me were fit to go into a church, let alone pri! She'll 



•JO 



A FIREBUG WOMAN 



tell^ you it's true, she will, sir— every word I s'y; for 
she's a 'oly ooman as ever was, and that good to us 
poor folk, you'd never believe ; and " 

"I want to know," said Brand, "what the Clewston 
detectives have to do with these crimes ? " 

" Nothing, sir ; only onct they caught me doin' of 
It— unbeknownst to my man— and they says that if I 
didn't give up the nime of every gent as we burns 
'ouses for, they'd 'ave me 'lectrocuted. So I 'as to give 
the nimes, and " 

" Doubtless," said Straight, " the good detectives call 
upon the said 'gents' for half the insurance money. 
You're very innocent, Brand, me boy, or you'd know 
that our Clewston detectives are not here for their 
health." 

" Run away to bed, boys," said Father Jared. " Leave 
me to deal with this poor woman. To-night we have 
done wonders for the great cause." 

"What, sir," said Brand, "isn't this a matter for the 
police ? " 

"Police I" said Straight, scornfully. "If the police 
got hold of this, they'd break the insurance com- 
panies—they'd have half the city burnt— and Tammany 
would be enriched with the proceeds. If this woman 
has burnt a hundred or so houses, we'll see she burns 
no more." 

" Dick is quite right," said Father Jared. " We'll see 
that she burns no more." 

Afterwards, while Brand was undressing, Straight 
strolled into his room. 

" Do you know, Haraldson, what she means by her 
"usbing'?" ' 

" English dialects are beyond me," said Brand. " Her 
husband, it sounded like." 
" Not a bit of it When you've studied crime a little 



A FIREBUG WOMAN 7, 

longer, you'll understand thieves' argot. Husband or 
wife as the cas, may be. is the slang for a secret 
soc.ety-the 'Dark and Secret Band of Firebugs" 
N.ce name eh? It consists of incendiaries, and ad- 
T^l'u ^ ■* '"*"""" companies; the first lot 
do the burning to order, the second report that it was 
accidental No wonder the woman is scared Why 
one member, who was under suspicion of betraying 
their secrets, went raving mad with fright 1 " 

• '.'^'r ^ f*' "^*'°"'" "'S'^^d B«nd. as he tumbled 
into bed. ■■ Put out the light ; I'm tired." 

So It happened that this Firebug woman, as the 
mcendiary got herself dubbed by Straight, seemed to 
come under Father Jared's influence-the more readily" 
because she had been a soldier's child at Aldershot, in 
the days when the Reverend Jared Nisted, V.C w:^ a 
chaiJam of Her Majesty's forces in that camp w"^ 
was her gratitude to the little priest when he appoint™ 
her caretaker of the hall, a feeling reflected in his 1^2 
^fl2j''\"°''uP°'"!"^ """y ">°™'"g.and almost 



CHAPTER X 

AW AMCIEMT REPROBATE 

Who was this Dr. Rex Clewston, this mysterious 
recluse, chief of a huge detective system, the blackmailer 
to whom all crime rendered unwilling tribute, who held 
the Tammany Gang in his clutches, knew the secrets of 
the anarchists, and used incendiaries as his tools ? Who 
was this improbable— nay, impossible— fiend, who had 
arisen to dominate society with such weapons? 

Could it be true that the arch-criminal had been 
guilty of such clumsy work as train-wrecking? And 
if it was true, as the Colonel claimed, what motive had 
caused that bungling attempt of ten years ago to 
assassinate Michael Gault? 

For some days Haraldson pondered upon this matter. 
He saw the large Frailty Investigation Offices next door 
to the Avenger building, and fell to contrasting Dr. 
Clewston with Marshall Gault, the monster genius of 
evil, with the power that worked for good. 

And these two giants were peaceable neighbours! 
Brand, remembering the Colonel's dynamite story, 
strongly suspected that Gault's steam-launch had once' 
actually been placed at Clewston's disposal, for the pur- 
suit of an anarchist ; yet it was natural enough that a 
good citizen should lend assistance to a detective, even 
though the latter were personally of dubious repute. 
The more Brand studied the Avenger, the more he 
72 



AN ANCIENT REPROBATE 73 

valued its disinterested truthfulness, its cleanliness its 
cou^ife He had realised his ideal of a g«lt newL 
paper; he felt ready to serve Mr. Gault ^h aU h^ 
heart ; but he could not understand how hs net master 

^BrlnTSlfr '"t "''''"''"' °' D ' "e-rn " 
Brand httle knew the real Gault, the genius of 

with Hilda. Had he distrusted either his master or 
hu. fnend Straight, Brand was foo! enough to filt the 
wa;s°erwnr;h7"''r "^ -"sequences'; but n'o^ he 
r^!!r?^ . r^' *''"'*'"8r the other with a great- 

From the moment when the Colonel had suggested 
the possibility of discovering the would-be murEof 
Michael Gault, Brand had been on his guard. lest by 

t^l^ T ^ ^^'""^'^ °^ ^^«^"g''"g Hilda and her 
father, he was burning to atUck Dr. Clewston on general 
principles as a cowardly villain ; but experience had Uugh 
lum to keep his mouth shut; while the disclosures of 
stenS.T;l°fi^''"^'''' '""' °f 'he incendiary, added 
strength to his first conviction, that the great blackmailer 
had somehow got to be destroyed "CKmaiier 

His growing affection for Hilda, and the influence of 
Father Jared. ennobled this ambition; he fej that a 
mission was entrusted to him from ab;ve, that his ife ' 
would be a very small price to pay for the subjugat on 

^.^srt;s i^^eTrsrd^-^rT 

undertook, all by himselto^^ba^f^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ 

crimlSH''^ r^^^ °^^'' °'^"' ^"d '^^ library of 
crime which had been accumulated by previous fiehtin^r 
editors, were now exhaustively searche^d for Ty infoS 



74 



AN ANCIENT REPROBATE 



tlon they might contain about Dr. Clewston ; but that 
gentleman only appeared in the records as a chief of 
detectives, to !x; admired for his promptitude and 
acumen in smelling out fugitive criminals. He was 
too big a fowl of prey to be trapped with bird-lime. 

So Brand went to the Colonel for information, found 
his old friend in a certain bar-room by the docks, 
decoyed him away therefro'.n, gave him a good supper, 
then opened fire with the fir - 'f a volley of questions. 

"Say, Colonel, you remf.i •.. our first night in New 
York?" 

"So, my young friend,' said the Colonel, "after a 
week's flight into the blue empyrean, among silk-hatted 
cherubim and the rosy vapours that tint the upper crust 
of this terrestrial pie, you now condescend to alight upon 
the knowledge tree, to descend to facts, and to quaflT the 
amber fluid " — he lifted his schooner of beer and drank 
therefrom — " with an ancient reprobate. Sir, the ancient 
reprobate takes you — in a sense strictly metaphorical 
and Pickwickian — to his paternal bosom. 

" You have come to beg for the information which 
last week you so royally scorned, for the plain facts 
which will connect our friend Clewston with the train- 
wrecking. You rely upon the feelings which I cherish 

for one who What do you say? Sir, may I ask 

who is running this conversation ? Interruption, sir, is 
the parent of reticence ; but you are right to apologize, 
and I will bear no malice." 

After this rebuke, the Colonel continued, as he once 
quaintly expressed it, to " preamble around " for about 
ten minutes, and Brand's impatience was but ill dis- 
guised by the time the old gentleman condescended to 
approach the story which he had been aching to deliver 
for a week. 

" Ten years ago, long before I went into the detective 



AN ANCIENT REPROBATE 75 

apes. They fetched a pretty considerable figure at the 

dealers in wild beasts, freaks, and other properties 
«qmred for d.rae museums and circuses. They^ un 
up the figures on apes, until they were rated higher in 
the market than school teachers and stenographer" 
they were askmg the full value of an average scrub 
solictor for an animal which I could supply^'n Sd 

Flonda; and. what with judicious importing and the 
c^Tnr T"' ' "'""=^'''' *•'** ' ~"'d Produce an^ 

oractiL,?" """"?■ ?"''" °' *=°'°"'<'<'- «t » 'ate which 
practically cornered the market. But I confess that 

when I put up my patent monkey-proof wire fence I 

hadnj calculated on the inspiring'p^liticalTmos;herl 

m„n?f„ ? • '°='°'°&"=^1 environment upon a com- 
among the quadrumana was-well, uncanny, 
to » n ""^ hundred-monkey-power fence succumbed 
to a preconcerted attack of a thousand assailants I 
concluded that it was about time for me to d ls^«e 
No wonder the people of Florida were displeased for" 
a ermyhvestock had eaten up three valuable y^ung 
orange proves and the county town, they spread them! 
elves „npart,ally over the country, each species locating 
Uelf m some tract of bush from which ITcould studj 
the surrounding agriculture. The State Legislature 
paid a monkey bounty of a dollar a tail, whiSoubled 

cem to'dl '''"°^^";^'^ *" *•>« y°»ng -en, and didn't 
cem to discourage the enemy. Now, I guess you can't 

who has lost money on Florida orange groves. 

As for me, the prospect was New York, or tar and 



J6 AN ANCIENT REPROBATE 

featheri; lo I chose New York, pursued by battalions 
of sufTerers, who wanted to make me pay for the alleged 
atrocities of my monkies. They had claims upon my 
esUte, but, since I hadn't got any esUte, I wished them 
joy. Then they wanted to take it out of my hide ; life 
wasn't worth living. I was hunted to death. Yes, sir 
that's the literal fact; and the press reports of my 
iiineral wei« so aiTecting that they made me weep. 

"Even now, when I feel lonesome, I resort to 
Greenwood Cemetery, where I sit upon my tomb, 
brooding over my sins, and making those good resolu- 
tions which have been a comfort to me through years 
of variegated iniquity. 

" The scheme was suggested by Simpson, who ran a 
waxwork show in the Bowery. He wanted my eiiigy 
for his gallery of distinguished criminals ; which I sat 
for, on condition that he gave me a pale, hollow-eyed 
duplicate. V'hen I told young Clewston, at the club, he 
was pleased all to pieces." 

Brand uttered a sigh of relief, for at last he was 
coming to the point 

Whereupon the Colonel scowled, but continued — 

"Now sir, ten years ago Dr. Clewston wasn't in the 
detective business. No, his name wasn't Clewston. At 
that time he was thirty years of age, owned and managed 
a largre concern down town, had apartments in Madison 
Avenue, a yacht, and a hunting lodge in the Catskills. 
For purposes of argument his name then was — Jones. 

" I wasn't a detective mysi-lf, I had not at that time 
acquired my present name and title. Jones was my 
personal friend, we were mutually concerneJ in one or 
two speculations ' on the Street ' — so that when, because 
of the paltry animosity of certain parties from Florida, 
I was about to be incarcerated in a dungeon, I told him 
of my impending demise. Jones was so tickled at the 



AN ANCIENT REPROBATE „ 

performed an heroic rescue. I wUl no* aH^ 
Jones', modesty in describing his own hlrot™ to"T 

my family physician, the obsequies the affertln^ ?^ ^ 

week later, and it was a touching reunion. 

help Wm to disappear because he had a little adventure 
«uti^ 71:! »''^*"*-\''.<' -d-which demanded 
w«ks orL .. ?'T''*' '"'"■ 'f y°" P'«««. for two 

."s^^r "If' ''•^' ■ '^■* '^ " ~^ " 

"It was my convenience to personate Mr lonea. 
a^tende^'l \- ""T"*' •"''"• ""^^ ■" "s c ftcs 

to the CaLi" m"'"'"- '■''' "''"='• ' ''->rt«' that nrgh^ 
to tne Catskill Mounta ns. Moreover I oKl.v,^ 

nend by despatching thence somfSrs he It^J 

to me informmg his friends that he felt sick and h»H 

gone to the hunting lodge for chan^ ofl^r s.-^? 

flatter myself that I can maintain the dign^[y prL 

«nche T'""/"""''"'"' ^'^'^'her runninf a VoX 
«nche, refnng from the tumult of the world or officFa^ 



MKtOCOPY (tSCHUTION TBT CHMT 

(ANSI ond ISO TEST CHART No. 2) 




IM 



1^ 
1^ 



MZO 



m^^ 



^ APPLIED IM/^GE In 

S^ '653 Eait Main StfMt 

f—S Rocheiter, N» York 14609 USA 

S ("6) *82 - 03OO - Phon« 

S C^'fi) 286-5989 -Fax 



78 



AN ANCIENT REPROBATE 



l> I 



I 



ing as an alibi. I had a pretty good time at the lodge, 
alone with Nature, contemplating the infinitudes — 
besides which Jones is a remarkably good judge of 
liquor. 

"And what was my reward for serving him? Did 
Jones fall upon my neck with tears of gratitude ? Did 
he offer still to be my alter ego, which means my other 
twin ? No, sir, he had the base ingratitude to produce a 
cheque which I had merely written out in his name to 
save him trouble — he charged me with forgery, and from 
that day to this has held me more or less in his power." 

"Confound you," said Brand, angrily. "D'ye think 
you can put me off the track with a clumsy mass of lies 
— yes, lies ? Forgery — pah, on your own showing you 
could have charged him with worse than that. You had 
but to open your mouth and his dirty secret love 
adventure would have been the talk of the country." 

" Brand, you are rude ; but that I can afford to pass 
over. This forgery gave Clewston no hold — and what 
did first put me at his mercy is my private business. I 
am attempting to show you Clewston's connection with 
the train-wrecking." 

" But all this rubbish has nothing to do with it I " 

" No, unless my friend's 'dirty little love adventure,' as 
you call it, was a dastardly attempt to murder Michael 
Gault. I shall betray Clewston's alibi on the day that I 
can prove to the hilt that he went to the Rocky Mountains 
in order to make a fortune by the death of the Railroad 
King. 

" What makes me suspect ? Well, firstly, the date of 
his leaving New York was eight days before the train- 
wrecking, whereas the date of his return was the seventh 
day afterwards. Secondly, I discovered, three years 
ago, that Clewston had at that time been speculating in 
Michael Gault's railroads to the tune of millions of 



I 



AN ANCIENT REPROBATE 
dollars. No «;•■ ««<. r 

under another i^ameth^-^"."'"' "°' ^^ ^'^^^^to". but 
market. TJ^rdiribe Le^^^^^^^^^ ""' °" "'^ ^-^°" 
3ide for such a fa 1 „ the sT^l "'"" °" *''= *''«■"' 

death. *''' '"°=''^ « 'vould follow Gaulfs 

C Jw/gw; stre%t;:„eTi hell" '° ''"^ 
the veo' fear of death. I wan" L L f °'"' ""^ 
to be avenged for the train-lreckin. r Tl/"" ^""* 
the day you brin^ me nr^^r -7 . ^~' '^" y°u that 

train-wre'^ker w^i,UruTv':^^">;^'';^^'^"^'°" ^^ 'h« 

oraewSr:^sr:;si^/--'«-on 

" guess," said Brand, yawn n^ ni .1 
gentleman." /awning, i n call on the 

"I guess," retorted the Colonel "that f^ 
you'll call on the Recording Angd." ^ '""*' ^^^^ 



CHAPTER XI 



THE PRICE OF ADMIRALTY 

Brand knew nothing about ships, but he had suggested 
dynamiting to the Colonel as the fate of the two lost 
liners. In this he was interested for Hilda's sake, 
although he never had the courage to allude to the 
subject or to her heavy loss, as a shareholder, in the 
King Line. He had re<id eagerly the accounts, from day 
to day, of the precautions taken before the Maharajah 
could be allowed to sail. The King Company refused 
to risk the lives of passengers or the carriage of un- 
insured freight, discharged the ship's domestics, and 
granted extra pay to the working crew. The mails were 
lashed to a raft, which could be set adrift in thirty 
seconds. The boats were loose on the davits, provisioned 
and watered for service. There was rigid scrutiny of 
every package shipped, of the bunker coal, of the ship's 
stores, and repeated examination of every compartment 
throughout the hull. The safety of the Maharajah was 
beyond all doubt, but the trade of the Line was ruined, 
and the loss of two uninsured first-rate liners within six 
months must surely have exhausted the last resources of 
capital and credit. 

The Maharajah had sailed, and hour by hour came 
reports by wireless telegraph, while the press and the 
people waited. Brand, as fighting editor of the Avenger, 
wrote of the dynamiting of ships, reciting from office 
records the growth of this strange species of crime. 
80 



ilHl! i 






THE PRICE OF ADMIRALTY g, 

were found in the s s%i, ?"' '"'^™*' machines 

than six in the ss ^t n %^''"P°°'' ^"^ "» 'ess 
0>../^/..«„i:^^:fy °" November ,s, ,892, the 

with the loss of ma?v uZ7 "^ •"'^ '"""* "'^ Cuba, 
attempt .as mad^rd sTo' ^ 'oA' ^" ?-'- 
owned by the same Amer^an Cot ^^ '*'''^f'«^/^». 
instance the infernal ma^hTne h • ^T.f"^- '" ^^is 
was discovered at New York 5, '"^ ^f"^ to explode, 
tea-for it had been wrapped in""' °' '">">"^hests of 
rancid smell of which cSti -^"'^'y P"P«^' '^e 

In the same year expS Jere ^7 °' ''^, ''''''^'■ 
cargo steamer 7««rl sister ^n r^u =°"=«^'=d i" the 

sailing-vessel, the CvmT^Jt^ZT^ V^^ ^°^'^ ' 
liner. ^^««,^^, wa^^artlv S " '^^^ "^^ ^'^«"'='> 

machine'while l^^^g'Tt l^tr a'' """^ "" '■"'■^™=" 
I89S. during the docker", ..u'""" P°«- I" 

i)it down," said Brand. ' 



82 



THE PRICE OF ADMIRALTY 



always against an outsider — and yet — the dark horse 
may, perhaps, know the course from past experience." 

" What the devil do you mean ? " 

"That you're a good fellow." Straight leaned back, 
inspecting Brand through eyeglasses. "I like you, 
Haraldson; I'm disposed, that is if it don't incon- 
venience me too much " — he took out the handkerchief 
from his breast pocket and flicked imaginary specks 
from his clothes — " to be of some service to you, and to 
Miss Gault" 

And all the while he was watching with deep quiet 
eyes, analyzing Brand's surprise, weighing his wrath. 

" No, I'm not prying into your business, but when we 
first met, I was amused at your nervousness in mentioning 
Miss Gault, your transparent innocence in being aroused 
by my chaff, your sudden flaming passion at the idea 
that I spoke of her slightingly. You did not know 
your own secret until I prolDed it — you don't recognize 
tht diagnosis now — you'll realize the truth for the first 
time as I tell you — that — you — love — Miss — Gault" 

Brand was conscious of being betrayed by an obvious 
blush, but he was bewildered by this man's swift, 
unscrupulous, masterful assault upon the innermost 
citadel of his nature. 

" Now," continued Straight, with a little triumphant 
laugh, " I've brought home the charge, you stand con- 
victed, you regard me as your enemy. But," a sad little 
smile came to chase the laugh away, " I have not so 
many friends, Mr. Brand Haraldson, that I can afford to 
lose you, and so I will tell you why I have committed what 
any gentleman might consider an unpardonable outrage. 
I hardly claim to know Miss Gault myself; but I rever- 
ence her," he raised his hat as he spoke, " as a gentle- 
woman to whom any contact with me would be a 
profanation. She is in danger, in what way I cannot. 



THE PRICE OF ADMIRALTY 83 

tZTLtn^ ' ""t'^y^^P^yyouraddresse, worthily 
enough, manfully enough, quickly enough she mav Z 
d^wn to you to her lasting advantag ' she ^ ^ 
saved from a fate such as I cannot f « of wfLS 

mySlLtrf^r^n^w!!!"?.''"'^^ 

handing the folded paper to^his manlh^^^ed S 

;; Mrs Marsden.'- he read, " Letwiche berks god hel_" 
That message," Straight explained, "has been for 

" So Miss Gault is ruined ? " 
" Beggared ! " 



ili:; 



CHAPTER XII 

TWO WAYS OF LOVE 

Brand found Hilda at rest after a hard day's work, 
enjoying the sunshine as it streamed through an open 
window, peaceful with a cbar conscience and the know- 
ledge that her hair was quite tidy. On seeing him, she 
called to Barbara for tea ; then told him to sit down, and 
not to look so very serious a personage. 

Brand sat down ; and, taking the evening paper from 
his pocket, "There's bad news," he said; "I thought 
perhaps you " 

" Bad news ? " she said, wearily ; " what a nuisance I 
I wanted to be sure of a rest for once. What ? Not the 
Maharajah I" 

" Yes, the Maharajah. We don't know yet how many 
lives are lost" 

"Thank you," said Hilda, gently; "it's real good of 
you to come. Excuse me a minute." 

She went hurriedly to her bedroom door ; then turned 
back. "No," she said, with a brave smile, "I'm not 
called upon to make any fuss. If the crew are saved, 
the rest doesn't matter— I'm not going— to— cry." 

Brand looked out of the window. He knew that 
Hilda wanted to find her handkerchief— he felt her 
coming across the room— and when she sat down 
again by the tea-table he glowered at the newspaper, 
lest she should think that he was aware of red eyes, 
84 



TWO WAYS OF LOVE g, 

and^^thc little break in her voice when she last had 

r veT;;:^«,ns .^^-^ ^ t;^ 

above making a big fuss'beiauL .' .^•'"^' *^'"'«'"'''' 
whole world belong otl,- !'""' '" *''°"'>'«- The 

-Wish I did^Ti-rai^h^k ;rrir ^.n-" 

he went on talking to eive the iIhIT^ . ^^ 

which was Brand/poor WesteJ wL T'J.° '■'"^''• 
But she interrupt'^d hrScour ° S^ P°"^ 
Barbara, put it down here, and rte cakes a, n "^''*' 
you can to Mr. Haraldson Now I wanTvou T" "^ 
down to the corner crrn^««. , ""7 ' "'ant you to run 

Five poundsXbarand^'tfen" '' °"* "' '"■"? '"g'^'- 
stores in the W'^^ hllftTu: ■.^^" ^'""''^ '" ">" 

an inordinate length of tim! in the h .u '""='"=" ''"^ 

more might be sld woXl^^arin ?°'^h'^' T'*'"^ 
silent, however until «,- i ^"'}^- The parlour was 

announced XbaS exit M "uf"^ °^ "«= <^°<" 
her guest hadTn^'tS" """'"^ '^'^ ""'^^ -" 

HiIi°"«ofcUth??"' ^'°'" ""' =-'«'■■• «'d 
had lived ?o mat ft touw'h™""^' '.''"'' '' '■^*''- 
The ships were not insurLTn^ k -f •'°'''" *""' '«='«• 
the reserve fu^d soXTthel '^ l'^"'^"'^ '«^"«d 
to replace the '/L Vi ^T/"'^ """"^^ ^"-^"gh 

year's dividend; and after h^ff '*f °^''' "P '^« 
was no passengeV traffic oeonl. '"■ °' ~"''^' '^«'« 



III 



86 



TWO WAYS OF LOVE 



holders. That takes all I have. Yes, I'm quite penniless 
now," she smiled. " So I won't have to subscribe to that 
hateful Pauper Factory— haven't got a cent left Personal 
property ? Oh yes, some frocks ; a few things I picked 
up in Europe, a little jewellery," she chuckled, " enough 
to start a second-hand store." 

"But," said Brand, "why didn't you sell out of the 
Line? Why don't you now?" 

"Because thafs what Marshall wanted." In plain 

American Hilda was giving herself away. " I mean 

that is, of course, the rats always scuttle from a doomed 
ship, but since the days of the ever-glorious Pat, who 
founded the House, the Gaults belong to the King Line 
and I'm not inclined to be the first rat— so there !" 

Brand wondered at this curious woman motive, a piece 
of chivalry that would not occur to a man. 

" What does it matter anyway ? " she continued. " I 
shall be just as useful, a real poor woman among the 
poor. No, you needn't waste sympathy on me. Brand ; 
the pity is for the brave men drowned or thrown out of 
work by this attack upon the King Line — their wives, 
their children, the stock-holders, their families, their 
dependents — what is my trouble beside theirs?" 

" But surely Marshall Gault won't see you " 

"Do you think," she cried angrily, "that I'll be be- 
holden to him — or anybody I I'm an American girl — 
not made of butter. I expect that I can get work with 
the Medical Mission, and that's good enough for me. 
Did you know that I have a degree in medicine ? Ah, 
Brand, I owe all this to Father Jared, who found me as 
useless as any woman in the Four Hundred, made me 
feel, oh, so small, and brought me here to patronize 
better people than I am, among these East-side tene- 
ments. Now I'm no longer a well-to-do crank who 
condescends to live among hard facts, but a free woman 



TWO WAYS OF LOVE «; 

strong and ready for service." She laughed gaily. "Dr. 
Hilda Gault, if you please— Medical Missionary!" 

Brand got up in a hurry, almost upsetting the tea- 
service. "And now," he said triumphr-rv. "it's my 
turn." ' 

"What do you mean?" 

"What do I mean I " he gasped. " I_I_oh, I can't I " 

It would not be fair to take her at a disadvantage, to 
use her grief m forwarding his love. She must be saved 
from absolute ruin first, given an income, free to choose 
her course, to take him or reject him as she pleased. 
And then, but not till then, he could speak of love. 

"I'm off," he said breathless. 

" What do you mean ? " 

"I'm going right away to your father's lawyers. Vansly- 
perken and what's-hls-name. Why, I'm almost glad 
this has happened— gives me a chance to help. No I 
tell you right now, it's no use arguing. Your father 
gave me the right to help you ; besides, there may be 
money in it, so's you can go on working here your own 
way, instead of being dependent on any mission." He 
strode to the door. 

She stood up. "Brand, I'm not in trouble— you 
mustn't " 

But Brand was gone. 

Hilda ran to the head of the stairs, whence she could 
see his coat-tails vanishing; but, instead of calling to 
bring him back, she listened as he swung down the 
steps, three at a time, whistling triumphantly. She 
clasped her hands ; she laughed a litf. then stole away 
back to her rooms, very demure, locked herself in the 
bedroom, threw herself on the bed, and had a good 
cry. " 

So far it seemed quite easy; the change scarcely 
perceptible from poverty played at to poverty real. How 



88 



TWO WAYS OF LOVE 



nice of him to come with his grand schemes, his boyish 
enthusiasm Why, poverty was only a little price to 
P»y '°\ "•«' friends like Brand and Father Jared. 

"Let's see"— she sat up on the bed— "what was I 
crymg for. anyway? Oh. yes-poverty. Whose poverty ? 
Only mme. Then what am I crying about I " 

She bathed her face, took down her hair, brushed it 
comfortably, bound it all up, then when Barbara called 
her. Mt down to open the evening letters. One from 
Mrs. So-and-So. and would Miss Gault be kind enough 
o lend her . . . the landlord said . . . only a little 
temporary embarrassment, but still . . . Brave Mrs 
So-and-So I Hilda knew well enough how the rent was 
only the pretence of a proud woman, that the money 
was to save a clean home from the invasion of a drunken 
husband. She hud written out the usual cheque before 
she realized with a sinking heart, that the Bank would 
dishonour her name. " Ruined "_" penniless "-mere 
words they had seemed, to be thrust aside with a 
courageous laugh, but now I She tore the cheque into 
little pieces, and took up another letter. From the 
baby-farm at Niagara, this, to judge by the postmark, 
a spideiy scrawl from her dear old nurse, all about the 
slum children being reared at her charges in a paradise 
of cherries and red apples. Must these babies be sent 
back to the slums ? Feeling so sick that her head began 
to swim, the cold perspiration to stand out upon her 
fece, she took up the third letter. Her lawyers, Messrs 
Vanslyperken and Schneidam, advised her with extreme 
regret that the bankers were solicitous as to her account 
which was overdrawn to a quite unusual extent. Thev 
must advise moderation in the writing of further cheques 
pending arrangements now being made, etc. A fourth 
letter from the matron of "God's Hostelry for the 
Dying, and would Miss Gault oblige with a remittance 



TWO WAYS OF LOVE 



for' InS^r^-^rcHr- '"^^"'-"-"^ « ^"-^ 

but the bitter tr;rbrof7e',S,r nt^h' "^ "" '"''°'^' 
thing,, but the hope, of alf t^t Lh V '"'P' °^ '^««' 
the world-and the ar!^L . ^ '•"°*" "» hope in 

With the ASj!i;::T:zz:t:z '^""^^^""* 

when all thing, mu,t be rendered up "" '""'" 

th't^^n irr,ME/L!f'"'' "'^^ ^"''^ "PO" 
"Don't take my work awaj" "'"'^' '''= "'«''• 

haJnr;'u;^rtr:i,r."Lor ^■■^•' ^^^^^ j-«« 

neither will IforsakeThee" ' "" """'='' '""^'^ "«^. 

bufd?.r/tttlVe''i"n^''/ r °^ *»-'■ -•"« 
heavy footfall rang on the ,tal °''' """'' '^' *«"■ » 
hand wrenched at fhrkntkl^Th^Toor "'"' ""■«" 

III r-/l^ ^"^ *° »>" "-'"'oom "Barbara I " 
. She heard the maid slopping out of th.l^u 
'ng the door. "Yes sorr 7„™ • * '''*''''^"' °P«n- 
Lor, what's yer hurr^"? Mi3s°^^dar' f '°""' ^°"- 
bedroom door, "ye're wanted lit *''PP'"& »" the 

Hilda came ouHLmlv to^fi^''^"" ^^"'"" 
possession of her sif«i"^L °,. Jf ^ 'J^^^^^^^^^ -n ,„ 
hhes, very much at his wse Sin/ I °" "^ ^'^ °f 

own the earth, he natur'.yhad aken'thT'"""'^' '" 
djsposmg himself to ponderous advanui T'"' """■'' 
places on the weather no Jnc. r u ? No common- 
fear of intrusion smoothed he'ui :r^ 'f ^"^^'' °' 
overture. He had come to dU.^ ^'^ °^ ""'^ '"*"'" 
j"st refrained from m^t onL hThisT" P'^"^'' '"' 
many dollar a minute and wo.,M u I ""^ ^^^ worth 



if :1 



90 



TWO WAYS OF LOVE 



had been almost too shy to speak — afraid of soiling the 
floor with muddy boots, the humble bearer of a tribute 
of flowers by way of palliation for coming. The flowers 
were on the table, filling the lamp-lit room with unwonted 
fragrance ; but Marshall brought flowers of speech in 
welt-balanced sentences — an atmosphere of ruthless 
power dominating her senses. His eyes were always 
upon her most uncomfortably ; keen in the detection of 
red eyelids, in the embarrassment of every feminine 
artifice to veil distress. Yet he meant well ; knowing 
every angle of that rough personality, she felt that he 
came out of kindness, and even with a certain tact 
refrained from even mentioning that she was in trouble. 
She liked to hear his large philanthropy as he unrolled 
grreat schemes of ably-planned benevolence ; she took 
a well-feigned interest in anything that would divert his 
mind from her sore wounds. 

And Marshall felt, with comfortable satisfaction, that 
he was dealing delicately with her trouble, when he 
came quite in an incidental manner to the pleasure it 
would be for him to take over her charities — only one 
hundred and ten thousand a year ; after all, his manager 
might even, he thought, improve upon her hopelessly 
unbusinesslike methods. 

"So you know ?" she asked faintly, sitting up in the 
arm-chair to some desultory sewing which soothed her 
nerves, and kept her hands from revealing any emotion, 
lest self-command should fail. 

" Yes, Hilda, I know ; and I know how foolish all 
these plans of mine must be unless you help me." 

She looked stonily at the text on the wall. " Lo, I 
will never leave thee." Was this the answer to her 
prayer ? " Why did I pray ? " she wondered. " Why 
couldn't I keep my mouth shut?" 

" Yes, I will help you," she said, and the needle raced 



TWO WAYS OF LOVE 9, 

viciously along a seam of linen. She knew that thi, 
™a„ spoke from the ve^^ depths of his nature^ co^i' 
h>s jdeas m.ght be, but. weighing his words, testing °hem 
to the uttermost as he spoke, she knew that at laft thev 
rang true. Many times had he approached £ £ 

fK " ^ ■I'*?. '=°"1"«''=d the .-world." he said, quite humblv 
though ; .. U wasn't worth the trouble, or h'a'f the tZul 
And now, I'm so hungry that I come to beg a cru t 

meTci'st'r *''" '" '°'" '°'' ' ^°"'' '- '"r- 
He took her hand in his own, and the very feel of him 
ch. led her. Why should she be repelled ? ^he g^eate^t 
philanthropist in the world, not out of charity. burwUh 
genumelove for her-oneof the richest men fn Ameri« 
coming to a penniless girl, with surely no selfish It ve 
-why should she be repelled? She was worn 07 she 
was driven into a corner from whence there was n 

"I prayed; this is the answer." She took up the 
flowers very tenderly, and, opening the window, scattered 
them out into the night. "They make the room so 

he/pllct "" '""'""'= ''^" "'""^^'^' ^'^P ^y ^'"P. to 

" This is the answer." 

She was fond of the man-had always thought of 
him as a sort of brother-was mightily proud of him 
because all his colossal fortune was but " " 



used fordoing good— "But I don't like him 



lever he 



And yet the baby-farm," she was „„. 
big tears trickled slowly down. " God' 
the work here." 



thinking 

Hostelry 



I can't I 
two 



I'i 



and 



93 



TWO WAYS OF LOVE 



"Lo, I will never leave thee, neither will I forsake 
thee." 

" I am lonely," he went on, " so lonely— shut off from 
all the world by a wall of gold. I am not strong enough 
to stand all alone on the cold heights, with only God 
above, and mankind crying out underfoot. Together 
we could do such great things, like a new Adam and a 
new Eve, tending the garden, and making the earth to 
laugh with a great delight. And I love you, dear ; I 
love you so much that all these words burn up with the 
heat of my breath, and nothing reaches you but ashes." 

Yes, the text did not change, as Hilda had half 
expected ; the words were still there, the answer written 
plain upon the wall. "Marshall," she said in utter 
weariness, " I'll do it." 

Marshall sat still— motionless— not daring to speak ; 
but into his eyes there came slowly the cold, clear light 
of triumph, of victory I 



CHAPTKR XIII 

THE KING'S BEQUEST 

banged at the door ^hi !,h', 1 ^'°^''' *'«=" ^^"d 
with echoes ^nH^ !^^°'^ P'*'^^ ^"""''^ t° «>sound 

wiS'ToU"'.;; tT^^^^ rrr^T" ^°'"°' 

disgust, when the door-ch^^ rattitd'fr rJhfnTnd'a 
pompous voice demanded who was there ' ^ * 

^^Jljy, surely," thought Brand. "IVe seen this freak 

we;e^::;drar'^^*''^ '' ^'- "-'^-^ Te-Ld, 

onL^'o^wTc^itThe ^'n'-'T ""^ ^'=""=-- ' •»«' 
that ;oV^:„ged LS?'''""-'°"'^*'"' ' '«'^"'' "»- 

;; I." he puffed, " am Schneidam Tertius." 
__ Glad to meet you, Mr. Tertius." 

P,W <. ,, ^.°' ^^ ■^""■"^ ' ">^»" third of that name 

Pet Schneidam, at your service; I'm too late for T" 

wife's table uptown, so I'm quite ;t your «:./" ">' 

A look of pam came into the gentleman's face, because 

93 



mti 



vf 



94 



THE KING'S BEQUEST 



Mrs. Schneidam Tertius, »A Wallop, had taken him at 
unawares, to have and to hold, like a bear-trap. As to 
his dinner well— absence is not all regret. 

" Say," said Brand, " I've got business that won't wait ; 
a letter of introduction from the late Michael Gault" 

" Indeed I Indeed I I remember. Pray step in — 
now, this is most curious — this way, Mr. Haraldson. 
So you're the Mr. Haraldson for whom we hold prop— — 
Step in, my dear sir, this way." 

Once in the private office where Hilda had first enter- 
tained him. Brand presented his letter to the Turtle, who 
mounted round gold spectacles, and snapped gently as 
he read. 

"Dear me, dear me," he looked up at Brand with 
open-mouthed astonishment, " accept my heartiest con- 
gratulations. You'll find the estate in admirable order, 
rents accumulating " 

" What the deuce " 

"Excuse me — the deuce— ha, ha!— just a moment 

while I open my " He turned to the safe and 

laboriously worked out the combination of numerals on 
the dial— 654, 391—' dick ' 

The door swung open, and the little lawyer hauled 
out of the safe two portly envelopes bound with red 
tape, sealed and endorsed. 

" A pleasant surprise for you, Mr. Haraldson, a very 
pleasant surprise. But first you must open this." He 
presented a third sealed letter. " Which will explain the 
intentions of our lamented client." 



"New York, 

"(jthAugu ' 18— 

"Dear Brand,— A year ago to-day you saved 
Hilda's life and my own. Now my days are numbered. 



THE KING'S BEQUEST 






^?/th! !p^° } «V*"'"« "y ''°"^« ■■" o'der. Your 
at Revolversburg I Le ^LT£ te, to ^ i"^' P^'*"^ 

Miss Gautt.' P""'"^" '"''°'-«'' '°" l-^half of 

uplf tTbitl^'"''^'^'^' ^^"'^ °f - ^» «^esce„d 

sha"lf °.°it^:;ar ""• ''"^'' '■" ^-^^ ""' --'«» - 
"(Sd.) Michael Gault." 

enfSylthat '"Jr'"' ""'> ^* ^"-"^ "^ '"at old 

Se attemoted '"'"" <=°"nection between Clewston 
luc attempted assassmat on of thp v;„„ j T 

dynamiting of the King's ships; ''"'^' '"'' ''^^ 

Mr. Schneidam was suddenly seized of an idea. " Mr. 



96 



THE KING'S BEQUEST 



Haraldson." he gasped, " may I ask, have you come 
here on buii>..ess concerning Miss Gault ? Pardon my 
question. I mean, Mr. Haraldson, that although I was 
absent at the time, my partner told me of your first 
meeting with Miss Gault at this office. You were intro- 
duced at the boarding-house by the Rev. Jared Nisted, 
who is her friend. In fact, we are extremely anxious 
about Miss Gault's affairs. Ah I I'd no right to speak 
of this ; I am betraying her confidence. I beg you to 
forget that I spoke." 

" There's no fear of that," cried Brand. " I know as 
well as you do that Miss Gault is ruined. I came here, 
because these papers concerning her may kinder help 
me to be useful, may help me to serve her." 

Suddenly there flashed across Brand's mind the words 
that Straight had said. 

" Miss Gault is in danger — in what way I cannot, dare 
not, tell you." The words rang now in his ears — " She 
is in danger I She is in danger I " 

" Mr. Schneidam," Brand said — his broad hand on the 
little man's shoulder — " I demand the package endorsed 
'On behalf of Miss Gault.' But the other, for me, 
contains money ; so I demand <'hat too, because I want 
the money for her, now that she's luined." 

"Mr. Haraldson" — the little man's voice was very 
husky — " I'm real glad to deliver these papers to you. 
Take them — ah 1 um ! — and kindly favour me with a 
receipt" 

"All right, Mr. Schneidam, make out your receipt; 
I'll sign anything you like." He was reading the 
endorsement of the package, " On behalf of Mr. Harald- 
son." He sat down opposite to the desk where the 
lan-yer had begun scribbling. " This first" He ripped 
open the envelope, and spread out a large sealed docu- 
ment "What's this, Mr. Schneidam? The stufTs 






THE KING'S BEQUEST 



"IZr "°'''*-''"«^"''g«.' 'hereditaments/-what 

JAJ^"^ f •^"^' ^'- "a'aldson. conveying to you 
and^your hers, executors, ad.r,ini.tratorsf and assigns! 

"What!' 

" And sundry " 

" Come, talk white, IMr. Schneidam." 
A property in this city, valued ten years aeo at one 
hundred thousand dollars-worth now sav haT« 1,?k 
lff'-n6yiel,i„,,6uun, the laS^Tars "n~t 
of fifteen thousand dollars. Besides that, the revenue of 
the past mne years has been invested in good securhies 
on your behalf, at the rate of three per cent. So tTat 

a";r"ird"eH*^r'"^' ^" ''^ ^^"^ '°' -'^ "-to ytu 
after all deductions, about one hundred thousand dollars 

and ts? °"^"^' ''''-'''' -''- commissions, t":::: 
"What," cried Brand, "do you mean to say that I am 

bSes p""" *'°"''"'' ' ''"• -^ - ^-dred Thousand 
"I trust, my dear sir, that you will find the arrange- 

aTceptab^" '^^'^ ""^'^ °" ^°- '^^^^^ -tirfy 

JifT ^^'^•"'^''^ ^^'*"d, "Miss Gault tells me that she 
has been spendmg a thousand dollars a year on herself 
Now that she has lost everything, and she won" accept 
money front, me. I want you to fix up some arran-eme^ 
by wh.ch she shall draw from this-her father's money 
-the sum of a thousand a year. Mind you, she mustn^ 
know It comes from me." 

"I understand," said the Lawyer; "we'll fix it some 
ho^w-a little legal fiction, eh ? Wll, well ; aH ^ g^d" 

"But she must have it at on'-e" 

H 



98 



THE KING'S BEQUEST 



"Impossible! You must prove your identity, Mr. 
Haraldson, before we can hand over a dollar." 

"But my letter was enough. You gave me this 
document without any legal monkey-business." 

"We had our instructions. Besides, nobody now 
living knows of these documents except you, my partner, 
and myself. I know of your instant recognition by Miss 
Gault and Mr. Marshall Gault; but the law, my dear 
sir I— the law!" 

" Damn the law I See here ; you know who I am — 
you have the security of this deed. Here, take it I On 
that security borrow a thousand dollars at once, and 
send it to Miss Gault." 

" I think, Mr. Haraldson," the lawyer grinned, " my 
partner and I will discuss this matter between us ; for 
Miss Gault's sake we should be sorry to allow any delay. 
Leave the matter to us. To-morrow we'll take your 
note of hand at three months, for a thousand at six per 
cent. How will that suit you, eh ? " 

" That's all right," said Brand, absently, " fix it your 
own way so that she gets the money. If I thought Miss 
Gault would take more than a thousand, the whole of 
this wealth would be better in her hands than mine." 
Then feeling that he wasted time until he could return 
to Miss Hilda's flat, he made a hurried departure. 

Miss Gault was not at home. Then and for many 
days afterwards the maid dismissed Brand with excuses. 
Miss Gault was out, Miss Gault was not receiving. Miss 
Gault - /as sick, and gone away to Vermont. But in that 
first night, before any misgivings had chilled him. Brand 
spent the sleepless hours in his bedroom reading the 
papers bequeathed by Michael Gault. 

The dawn was breaking before he finished his study 
of the second sealed package, which contained a docu- 
ment about the train-wrecking, left by the late Mr. 



THE KING'S BEQUEST 



It «, only necessary here to give extracts :- 
heh,^K r '"^" '" **" "'I"''y conducted on my 

J^fe^KKrir^ '^°-«-^*^^ ^- vo":^: 

tram on 30th July last; neither would he te I „? 'h° 

And so on for ten weao' pages of introduction un il 
there occurred a most astounding confession. ' 

Polled hl^^-dt "-^r""' '"' "'='=""■*>'• •'^ "« ^°'"- 

cbsl nf*.- ^ P""" P'°^«"tion involving the dis 

nil allalX^-^LT^^^^ -''>-^ '- than 'a 

stiptor in pS: th"t an^' f^Sttrmr to t ^"- 
in urv will hf mof v. u- '"'"'cr attempt to do me 

theoutnS, circumstances attending 



100 



THE KING'S BEQUEST 



properties." All thia the Colonel had said of Dr. 
ClewstonI "There would be a large depreciation of 
shares, not really warranted by the financial condition 
of the said railroads ; so, by buying the depreciated 
stock, he would profit by their ultimate recovery in the 
public esteem. When I say that the margin he ex- 
pected to realize was not less than two million dollars, 
you will appreciate his motive in removing me. To 
avoid suspicion, John Doe had opened relations some 
time before, under an assumed name, with certain 
brokers in London. His opportunity came at the time 
when I had announced my intended departure for the 
Pacific coast, in the appearance upon the scene of one 
Peter Quiggle " — Was this the Colonel ? — " an eccentric 
individual, who had done some extensive swindling in 
connection with an Ape Ranche in Florida.'' 

Here followed an account of the Colonel's disastrous 
adventure in Florida, his flight, his whimsical exit from 
the world, and his relations with " John Doe," all fairly 
agreeing with the old man's version of the story. 

But now Mr. Gault's memorandum plunged into an 
entirely fresh rendering of the events which followed. 
Here it was the Colonel who went west to the train- 
wrecking, subsidized heavily by "John Doe"; while 
the wicked instigator retired to his little place in the 
country, to deal very energetically indeed with the 
Colonel's creditors. 

Next, Brand found that he need not trouble himself 
with the " reports " of the detectives, for these were but 
typewritten MSS., which had been so carefully edited 
by the department, that they afTorded not the least clue 
as to the identity of the instigator. Indeed, their only 
value consisted in the fact that however " faked " to 
hide the truth from Michael Gault, these represented 
authentic documents now in the archives of the De- 



THE KING'S BEQUEST ,oi 

tectJve Bureau. Undoubtedly, if Clcwrton could be 
identified as "Jones" alias "John Doe," and if the 
actual reports could be unearthed, they had only to be 
produced in Court to convict him of felony— but to «♦ 
at them? If Clewston had been powerful enough ', 
suppress the investigation ten years ago. he was fifty 
imes stronger now. If he had not already procured 
the destruction of all evidence against him. the least 
enquiijr would set the arch-detective on his guard In 
vain Brand racked his brains for a solution to this new 
dilficulty. and the evidence rose fantastic before him a 
nightmare problem, a stone wall of obstruction, un- 
surmountable. Was the Colonel guilty, or Clewston ?- 
Clewston, or the Colonel? The first sunlight pourine 
into Brands room awakened him from a horrible 
dream, m which Clewston and the Colonel were wreck- 
ing a King steamer wherein he, enveloped in flames, 
was fighting with red incarnate Murder for Hilda's 
deliverance. 



CHAPTER XIV 

A POWER BEHIND THE THRONE 

During his first few weelcs in this big town, Brand 
had never tired of exploring the streets. Once escaped 
from the day's work and the boarding-house supper, his 
evenings had been spent in long rambles through the 
fashionable districts— that endless garden of little homes 
across the Brooklyn Bridge — or the cosmopolitan east 
side, where he had studied the natural history of " kids," 
"natives," "bowery boys," "heelers," "scrappin" gangs," 
"hoboes," "beats," "bums," " bruisers "—all very lively 
and good-natured after their kind. He had followed 
them into their lairs, where suspicion could only be 
disarmed by a setting-up of drinks, though his huge 
bulk and propensity for "scrapping" ensured something 
more than respect. Otherwise, his excursions had been 
solitary, because walking is accounted as madness by 
the eastern American ; indeed, he wanted no company, 
for even Straight, the best fellow in the world, would 
always be talking— a flagrant interruption that to a man 
in love. About once in a week he had beguiled Hilda 
away for a stroll in Central Park or the Battery, and 
these had been red letter days because — but there i, no 
need to explain such things as that. On Sundays she 
had taken him to church. 

His accession to wealth made not the slightest 
difference to Brand, who knew that the family lawyers 



A POWER BEHIND THE THRONE 103 

T^!L!Tm ' '^n"'!' °' *° '" *'"''' »» «•'«»*""'"« their 
•teward.hip. All elie was changed from the day when 

r.'iii^»? ,*.'!'"' "'*'• ""^* *" "o"* ' wh<=" he 
called, the maid implacable. 

The light of his life could scarcely be dimmed by 

that-some temporary wish for solitude to be wholly 

nwpected, or misunderstanding soon to be set to rights. 

The realization of love had changed the man to the 

very foundations of his nature. A few days ago his 

!!? h°'I? «T, '"'* ***" '"'P'""* ^y " barbarous delight 
in hard fighting; now he had forgotten how to fulminate. 
Called upon to deal with a certain famous conviction in 
thecnmmal courts, he sat down at his desk to denounce 
the male ctor, yet found himself writing sorrowfully 
about a society which had not given the poor black- 
guard a chance to be good, laws which fixed a great 
gulf between the nice woolly sheep made rich by 
pettifogging m Wall Street, and the unsavoury goats 
who got hard labour for being bad in the Bowery The 
prisoner had committed a series of murders, so, of 

r w; Ml!"?.]!* t'?'*="*'^ '■°' '•'* encouragement of 
his kinsfolk of the Five Points-one tailor the less to 
be sweated by the wholesale merchant in Broadway 
one tenant less for the rack-renter in Madison Avenue! 
one citizen less to be taxed, one voter less to be bribed 
one srul the less to be damned at the rich man's gate.' 
Of Course this precious diatribe came back to the 
Kghting Editor with an indignation mark on the 
comer; Brand's ideals were no longer those of the 

uT^. ^^ '*'^"' ''°™« '" the blues, thinking of 
all the big -swindlers and their fraudulent business 
unmasked by his fighting editorship, only to make 
room for smarter villains warned as to their eleventh 
commandment, "Thoi shalt not be found out" He 
seemed a sort of Fate, killing off the unfit to help on 



104 A POWER BEHIND THE THRONE 

the evolution of hardier malefactors, giving them scope 
to devour more widows' houses, the hint to make longer 
prayers. 

Father Jared had work for him in the evening, because 
in those days Mrs. Papps brought all her anxieties to 
an end in bankruptcy. Since the boarders would not 
pay their bills a haiiy alien sat in the kitchen, the silent 
representative of civil law. Then the priest signed some 
big documents, the alien went away to devour another 
bankrupt, the boarders packed up their trunks, migrat- 
ing one by one to board elsewhere. Father Jared was 
tenant now on behalf of the Reformers' Club, a little 
speculation in souls, as the good man called it. Straight 
controlled the finances. Brand re-arranged the furniture, 
a porter was installed in the entry, Mrs. Papps resumed 
command as housekeeper, and the firebug woman began 
to scrub the floors. Perhaps the philanthropic com- 
mittees did more harm than good, maybe the reformers, 
who met in the upper hall, had more of genial futility 
than actual usefulness ; but if New York was foul 
beyond cleansing, and local politics were beyond the 
reach of honest endeavour, that was not the fault of the 
workers, nor of Father Jared. At least the club was 
a well-conducted place of rest and comfort, and the 
little dinners to be had in the basement rooms were 
a great relief after the miseries of a city boarding- 
house. 

To Brand all this was faintly amusing, by no means 
important, as yet, while he was living a new and larger 
life. In the streets he judged all women to their dis- 
paragement by cc.trast with one ; in the shop windows 
photographs of reigning beauties showed here Miss 
Hilda's eyes, there the sheen of her hair, or again the 
wee dimple which made her smile so full of witchery — 
yet all conceptions of human loveliness combined failed 



A POWER BEHIND THE THRONE ,05 

utterly to express what he saw when he looked at her- 
self No camera has ever been in love. At times NeL 
York seemed only a dream city, humanity a misf of 

^Llr% !,''« "^"''eavours, passions, strivings, failures 
deaths of all the race might give some compassibrte 

Wto H "' U '''* l^' J°"'""''^'' ''^'^ Recording Ange 
but to Haraldson these unrealities melted away before 
the central fact of time and space, his love. He dreTrn^ 
that he was something in] love with the Earth, tS 
Earth was in deadly peril by reason of a gre^t Cloud 
whu:h dragon-like, had jaws hot as the jfws of helt 
that h.s love-the Earth-was to be devoured by that 
dragon Cloud. But he was only something ho4 hS 
above, a helpless spirit full of terror. Then therewa! 

do bTe ed"d "V --'^. Magged blade of ^fgh^nTng 
double-edged, and a voice came to him, saying "Be 
sw,ft ,f you would save her from the Cloud 3tr kfwhS 
there is yet time, strike I " "'kc wnue 

The dream was only a nightmare after all when he 
woke up w.th a startled cry f„,m his sleep ; hSess 
mortal, now pledged to deliver a woman from some 
hidden danger^ Had that danger been visible, tangiSe 
to be fought, he would have enjoyed the ordeal -but 
cool mtrigue is poor solace to a ma^n who likes fightt 

was denied for months to come. 

"Dr. Clewston," about as easy to call upon as the 
Aurora Borealis, had been involved in the tr^in wreck! 
ng; suspicion pointed to his concern in the intrigue of 
the hberators, in the destruction of the King Line of 

T'"- '" ^''' ^^""'« impoverishment. 

Who was this man known to the Commonalty as 
ful ^"^ Clewston, whom the Colonel his enemy and 
the police his pursuers, were both afraid to mentfon 



io6 A POWER BEHIND THE THRONE 

whose real name must needs be hidden behind a 
cloud of pseudonyms? 

Brand could, perhaps, have pressed his enquiries upon 
Mr. Montagu, the retired Chief of the New York Detec- 
tive Bureau; he could have asked tentative questions 
among his acquaintances; or, with the money now at 
his command, he could have engaged detectives, say 
from abroad; but happily for himself, this journalist 
had a very great talent for silence. Hz knew well 
enough that enquiry of any kind was likely enough to 
be reported to Clewston, whose suspicions would, at the 
present time, be inconvenient. If the enemy knew that 
he was being spied upon, the spy would be watched — 
and removed. 

Brand had been relying upon the Colonel, but suppose 
the Colonel was, as attested by Inspector Montagu, only 
Clewston's catspaw in the train-wrecking? Brand did 
not think that the old gentleman's face resembled the 
one which he had seen ten years ago in the light of a 
burning train ; still a mistake was possible, and, consider- 
ing how awkward it would be if he were dealing with 
Clewston's agent, he was rather incautious to ask Colonel 
Giggleswick to dine with him at the Club. Inwardly 
doubtful as to whether he had done wisely in sending 
such an invitation, and expecting a poor old tramp, who 
would have been received with scant courtesy by the 
new porter. Brand awaited his guest at the front door. 

Great was his amazement, then, when the Colonel 
came punctual to a minute, smoking a big cigar, arrayed 
in clean linen, frock-coat, light blue trousers, a single 
eyeglass, a glossy silk hat, a rosebud buttonhole, manners 
fit for a prince, and a smile of unusual calmness and 
benignity. 

" How do. Brand ? " this with the condescension of 
three fingers in a lavender kid glove, " doosed warm, eh? " 






A POWER BEHIND THE THRONE ,o; 

"th "^r^'^'f *'''= '^""^''' «"' Colonel ?" ' '°"''' °'' 
■' sir" £''°"'= .'g"°'-«d the suggestion with a fine scorn 
_ i>ir, he continued, "I've patented at WashinotonTn' 
invention that, as a product of genius eSesTl 
monument in the Pantheon of the'naToL. g '". Wealth 
has been offered me by certain parties here in NewYo k 

that the said parties mean business. Oh, by the X 
can you oblige me with five dollars ? " ^' 

Brand produced the money. 

all-'^Therol'" Tk \'*'"'J"" '■" *'>'' morning-not at 

ment and patient listening, to mellow hifguest After" 
Sue CO, " t""" ^°'°"^' """"^ -^^ q""= enough for in 
to^rct-wsr^ -"'' ''''' ''' ^^' -"'San 



io8 A POWER BEHIND THE THRONE 

"Colonel," Brand looked him directly in the eyes, 
"you're not playing straight!" 

"Sir!" 

A smooth approach would have set this able liar on 
guard, ready to slide gracefully out of difficulties, but 
Brand had no intention of being outwitted, and blunt 
directness rarely fails against a coward. 

" Last time we talked, you wanted me to believe you 
in Clewston's power, because he could denounce you for 
forgery. That's not enough when you can prove his 
secret absence from home at the time of the train- 
wrecking, and that he had fixed things on the London 
Exchange to profit by the death of Michael Gault." 

The Colonel was off guard. " Ah, well you see " 

" Mr. Peter Quiggle, tell the truth." 

The Colonel cast a rapid glance at Brand's face; 
restraining a little half-frightened gasp, he studied the 
design of the wine-glasses, then laughed nervously. 

" Young man, I perceive in you the glimmerings of 
human reason : but you mustn't flatter yourself upon 
being grown up. Had I lied to you in my account of 
the forgery, you would have found me out ; you would 
have become distrustful." He looked at Brand quite 
frankly. "You know that I told the truth." 

Brand struck back at hazard. " Only half the truth." 

" Quite so. You got all that was good for you." 

" I'll have the other half," 

" If—what ? " 

Brand laughed. " If you please." 

The Colonel bowed. " Then guess the other half." 

" If you had been an honest man, Colonel Giggkiwick 
alias Peter Quiggle " — the old man winced—" you would 
have let Clewston alone. Being a blackguard, you 
wanted afterwards to turn your knowledge of this man's 
crimes to your own advantage." 



A POWER BEHIND THE THRONE ,09 

"I became chief of Clewston's Exchange Department 
—keeper of his records." department 

Diavli V' ^^'^ the Colonel thoughtfully. "But I 
placed a b.g game, and I guess I ain't through with it 

JrJaro^SsZ"?- '"''"'■ '''' ' '^»y— 
TM?i; ' 1!"*^'" ^''^ ^'^""^ indifferently, "if you like" 
fir heJJ"'"' T-' """' •"="""g ^tK>ut the bush; but 

fuitiSoTrUd""'^''' '"-' " ''^^^ ^•^^ ^°'-^' 

"It's only politics : perhaps I'd better let you off." 

.Brand s curiosity was aroused. 

" What, is Clewston in politics too ?" 

"Clewston's in everything American _ he's the 
American disease; and when Posterity comes a^on^ to 
sample around and turn up its nose at thTheriS S 

c I n^'''f'r'*°" ^'" ''^'■"""d fitting on the Lb 
of the United States by way of an epitaph 

You remember the great Independent President? 
Wd, he went to Washington pledged to reform tL 
Civil Service, tne law of gravitation-every thine but 
himself. Ever hear of the missionary who trifd to 
reform the equator? Well, the misLnai^ d ed of 
sunstroke, but the equator's doing business aTthe same 
old stand. Reform! Reform! They all cry out reform 
^it^T'lr."^ -formed-ex'cept th' AmeSan 
politician. But it wasn't reform which bothered 
Clewston ; he knew better. Did you ever see a mouse 
break into a corral full of elephants ? Well the mouse 

S o'f ?T'"7r'^"*' ''°"^'^' -to office T; a 
King of Trusts; and the elephants were the general 



no A POWER BEHIND THE THRONE 

business interests of the American people. Now, an 
elephant fears a mouse as a seventh day adv:;ntist fears 
the Judgment. The mouse was paralyzed with astonish- 
ment, the elephants were wild with fright ; and goodness 
knows what would have happened, but that one of the 
elephants happened to tread on the mouse— and that 
particular elephant was Dr. Clewston." 

Brand yawned, knowing that once embarked on a 
tale the Colonel would finish it or perish. 

" When the good Doctor sent me as his messenger to 
Washington, I surmised that I was afloat upon that tide 
which, unless nipped in the bud, leads on to something 
considerable. As for the President, he thought he was 
going to have me to play with— he wasn't. I went as 
Clewston's ambassador, and pulverized that President." 

Brand interrupted. " Why didn't Clewston go him- 
self?" 

"Sir, have I not explained to you that the Doctor 
never condescends to see anybody?" 

" What is this man— the Pope, the Emperor of China ? " 

The Colonel became sarcastic. "They're political 
back numbers, sir— vestiges of antiquity. This man is 
a living power." 

Brand sneered. "You should write fairy tales." 

" I wish you to understand, young man, that Clewston 
is not on the remnant counter to be pawed around by 
the female persuasion at nine cents a yard." 

Brand sank into a condition of weary incredulity. 
" Go on." 

" Well, I told the President to withdraw his objections 
with regard to a certain bill." 

« What I " 

" Otherwise," continued the Colonel blandly, " mattery 
had been brought to Dr. Clewston's notice, the publica- 
tion of which would be — say inconvenient." 






A POWER BEHIND THE THRONE ,„ 
"Well?" 

"You m«n?' "^°'»'''««d the matter." 

^rJZtr'L%7j^l^:T- ^'-''-"^^ the 
" Somewhat." 

'•Bosh r-what crim,s had he committed } " 

forap^litWan but ff"n^''"'' ^'^'^^'^^^V harmful- 
pcdig^ r^es's Si^^T^ ^^ P"'"'^'«='' "is whole 

mistakes i for rheum^fl fh °'"'' *"'' ^^^ ''°=t°^ 
loose, and he's hXTTutrS^ 'T -^^ P'''^='«=' 
politics, there's no thorou?hte::"vt '^^^^^ " ^ 7" ''''' 
him. What's a PreQinJl* ! "* '^*"'^' despises 

with the strWshanS' '"''''- ^ marionette, sir. 
thosewho Sot^ouXt' un of T ^""'='? ''^ 
-they're all inside; but the pIm ? T °" ' ''""S^* 
ri8;it hand and he'd si J » ^'^"f '>""»' why, tweak his 
Great Britain herseif-Dun ^ ''"'^■•^"°" °f war with 
Wall Street-lhey do^r I "°'' ^""^ ''"'^ ''^"''^"Pt 

is an autocratic mnn=,^k .•,"'• The President 
Kaiser or a Tsarh/t' "°* '" '^^'''"B-^'rings like a 

Brand saw his chance. 

Cllwston?'* '° ^°" P'^^ ^- "— fo' me or for 

fifanHW^'^"'"' y°""^ '"^"' f°^ vengeance." 
Brand s time was come. Wrieele as fhi-l 
escape was imoossible An Z ^^ ^ ™*" ""g^t, 

might be a IfeTut the cti^ 1' '""^".''"'"fi' '"« ^ '«ident 
a lie, out the Colonel's relations with Clewston 



il I 
111 



112 A POWER BEHIND THE THRONE 

had been proved. What were such relations that would 
drive the weaker adversary to flight, destitution, the last 
degradations of cowardice ? 

" Why vengeance ? " Brand stood over him relentless, 
implacable. " Why vengeance ? " 

"Haraldson, if you found a man being burned to 
death, I calculate you'd pull him out of the flames, but 
you'd ask first what it felt like— why vengeance!" 

The drunkard's flush had left Colonel Giggleswick's 
face, which was now ghastly. He shifted in his chair 
with a glance of apprehension over one shoulder. 

" There are no eavesdroppers here," said Brand ; " why 
vengeance ? " 

And now of a sudden the journalist recognized in this 
man the restlessness, the irritable nerves, the fits of 
brooding, the haunted eyes that he had learned to know 
in the West as the signs, the marks, the ineffaceable 
brand which murder leaves behind. He looked the 
Colonel straight in the face. 

" Drink some more wine — Clewston's hold over you is 
not forgery, what is it then— why vengeance ? " 

"Why should I give you a hold over me?" 

"Because you know I shall take it otherwise. Do 
you think that you can keep that secret ? Murder will 
out— it's written all over you. Colonel Giggleswick, it's 
branded on you. What a fool you were to commit 
yourself with Clewston ! Come, I give you the choice, 
you poor old coward : which side do you take — Clewston's 
or mine ? " 

" Yours." 

" My price is the truth. Tell me the whole story." 

Again Brand's insight had helped to strike home, for 
the Colonel drank a tumbler of wine, then surrendered. 
" I guess my ways were too casual, and I knew too 
much. When I get a few drinks into me, maybe I'm a 



A POWER BEHIND THE THRONE 1,3 

the electric light honTLsuJ lamn, '"^ T'' '"'^ 
at the windows. I was dazz ?1 Me Znt'"":? '." 
something glimmering right close in f^S"f' "°T^ 

«^V"rarm^V'dV'^'^'-^^^^^^ 

kn^easit fell; to wrench it sharp ttofTma^ 
hands; tospnng from the bed. and grab the brute by 
the throat ; to fl.ng him back shrieking against the waif 
and plunge the long blade between hi! ribs. WhenThe 
c owd broke in, I was at the wash-basin scran.na thi 
blood off my clothes with the back of that kn^^'^j 

had over-,^ached himself fo. once Ttofd tS f " 
viewpro fViaf ;<• 1 "lite. 1 told the inter- 

TmaX S make'lVhf ""1 ' '''°"'' ''^^ --«= 

i« toT" s,r *■ f " - """ ■«>..•", *j 

« « yo„ h..l,k. No,, , dlX^°*. "' . 



114 A POWER BEHIND THE THRONE 

" The Judge |tumined up in my favour I Clewston 
had set me free I 

" For six months I've been too much scared to show 
my face. Clewston is irritated because now that I 
know too much, he hasn't succeeded in killing me, 
either with knife or law. Yes, he'll attack when he 
gets a chance, but not through any legal process ; and 
if I fail to trap him in the act, here is my last will and 
testament." He took a sealed envelope from his breast- 
pocket, which he thrust into Brand's fingers. "You 
shall open that, Haraldson, and avenge me!" 

Brand looked at the Colonel's clothes, the moss-rose 
in his buttonhole, the eyeglass, then at the envelope in 
his hands. He was wondering how to draw out the 
rest of this history, and incredulity had so far served 
him well. " While you lay low, my friend, I might have 
believed all this. A man who knows that it is death 
to show his face in New York doesn't parade around 
Broadway unless he has some courage. You have none." 
" No courage, eh ? No courage ? And is my invention 

nothing, that I should " 

" A dead inventor ain't of much account here. Colonel 
Giggleswick." 

The old gentleman stood up, his eyes flashing, his 
voice tremulous. 

" And what's the use of being alive, if I can't live 7 I'd 
rather be dead at once than live buried ! " 

"Very good." Brand turned the envelope between 
his fingers, thinking. " So, Colonel, you expect me to 
take you quite seriously, eh ? " 
" Sir, do you insinuate that I lie ? " 
" Not a bit of it ; only I'm puzzled. You tell me, in 
all good faith, what you believ-e of a man who calls him- 
self Clewston. Talk about somebody human, and I'm 
at home with the subject— I belong right there ; but this 



A POWER BEHIND THE THRONE ,,5 
H^Uft h?'T •"""'" y"" "« "y '■"■"d. but sayll-; 



CHAPTER XV 



CHAINS 

In any new employment or unaccustomed phase ot 
life, confronted by fresh problems, dealing with a busi- 
ness not reached by the steps of slow promotion, even 
the ablest men may be forgiven a little preliminary 
failure. Give a sailor the reins of a four-horse team and 
he goes bard a-starboard, says bad words, barely escapes 
the ditch with a wrench on the larboard tack, finds the 
other ditch agape with danger, lashes out with his whip, 
draws up the snorting leaders, then lets the creatures go 
their natural way, and in another hundred paces has 
mastered the art of driving. So had Brand plunged into 
that unknown metropolitan life, where the work was 
different from that he had learned in the Wesi, where 
every circumstance became a problem, and the new 
bewildering atmosphere of love half blinded him. But, 
at last, when one evening Hilda consented to be taken 
to the Metropolitan Opera House, he felt of a sudden 
that love had cleared his senses, broadened his views, 
given him the grasp of affairs, and laid the city before 
him as a field for conquest. 

And Hilda? She had been in bed for days with 
something which had a long Latin name, as the doctors 
claimed, though she knew it was worry. Knowing that 
she must tell Brand of her engagement, she could not 
bear to think of what must follow. He was such a nice 
it6 



CHAINS 



"T 



boy. he would take ft lo badly.lt would break hli heart ; 
and yet. in common fairness, she must tell the truth It 
was with the desperate resolve to delay no longer, with 
inward doubt as to her own courage, with an unconfesaed 
half doubt as to her own feelings, that she consented at 
last to see him. How her resolves melted away into 
thm air when he was actually with her at the opera. All 
through the first act, she was brooding: « Must I really 
tell him ? Must I really hold to Marshall's bargain ? 
Suppose I tell Marshall that I_that I've changed my 
mind, ask him to let me off. Marshall would sneer a 
little at the 'mind ' of a woman ; he would not mention 
his side of the bargain-the taking over of all the chari- 

Vf T^,'*"'"''' " ^°- "''' <=°"''l "<" ask favours of 

Marshall ; she would rather die. 

^ " Hilda," said Brand, as they waited between the acts. 

I vc been like a nine days' puppy ; but something has 
opened my eyes at last, and now begins the play." 

Hilda tried to quiet him a little. " You're much too 
energetic, she spoke severely ; then, with a laugh, "for 
a nine days' puppy." 

Now she was frightened, lest, being over well-behaved 
he might venture upon dangerous topics. " And then 
bet.ns the play ; what play do you mean ? " 

"Ks called the game of life. By George ! I feel so 
good He rapped the white bosom of his shirt, threw 
out his chest, breathed deep : « I'm going to make 'em 
Sit up. 

" Hush I for goodness' sake be quiet, or they'll notice 

For a moment he was silenced by the rebuke, for it 
would not do to let people think Miss Gault in noisy 
company. "Give me your hand," he whispered, "and 
1 11 be good. 

Her daintily-gloved fingers slid from his rough grasp. 



ii8 



CHAINS 



for now he was behaving worse than ever. " What a boy 
you are, Brand," this condescending tone was sure to 
crush him ; " will you never grow up ? " 

Afterwards, when the trouble came upon her, and 
thicker darkness as the days dragged on, Hilda remem- 
bered that gay evening at the opera. She thought of 
his face reflecting the passionate music of // Trovatore, 
and how the good old barrel-organ tunes, so stale to her, 
were a revelation to him. How he enjoyed the " Anvil 
Chorus " — the weighty chords, the majestic melody, the 
ringing of the hammers. 

" What a tune I " he had cried, while she silenced his 
loud applause, which so shocked f'e bored New Yorkers 
in stalls and boxes. Like the glowing iron on the anvil, 
he was being welded then in heart and soul, tempered 
for the mighty work to come ; and her heart had gone 
out to him in his ignorant delight, his jovial courageous 
masterfulness. Hilda loved of a sudden, in a flood of 
gladness, this healthy, joyous young sinner, who knew 
how to be stirred, how to applaud, how to drink the full 
measure of a strong man's great delight. How could 
she shatter that cup just raised to his lips — ^his love, his 
life? 

Nature has declared that a man shall be mighty, that 
a woman shall have love; that the man shall have 
mastery, and a maid shall have insight ; that the two 
shall be glad together in their youth, shall cleave to- 
gether in their age, and that death shall not set them 
asunder. 

Was not this engagement with Marshall a treachery 
against Nature when, body and soul, she was bound to 
a man she hated ? With millions of silken threads her 
heart clave to Brand, in full accordance with Nature's 
wisest law ; and, with the iron chains of her honour, she 
was pledged to another man. She knew that, loving 



CHAINS 



119 



Brand, she defied Nature in k -oping Iicr 'rith with 
Marshall Gault ; and yet— and yrt— she v as bound. 
This meeting with Brand was ili.' .lononrabL-. People 
who are perfectly honourable will have no further 
sympathy for this bad woman. 

They walked home together after the opera in silence, 
because their hearts were too busy for words. Ever 
afterwards, though neither had made a sign or ever 
spoken, the woman knew of the strong man fighting for 
her; so she depended upon his might, ho on her love, 
according to the great commandment of love which has 
ruled the earth since woman became a living soul, and 
into man was breathed the breath of life. 

Brand left her at the door of her flat with just a little 
longer pressure of the hand than usual, nothing more. 
She could see that his lips framed words which he dared 
not say, and, with a new-born delight of power over him, 
cut his hesitation short with a gay good-night. As for 
the man, he realized how absurd it was that she, so 
beautiful, should be in such a place, standing on 'the 
foul iron stairway between the grimy wall and the stark 
railmg, the light from a gas-jet shining upon the silk of 
her cloak, the simplicity of her dress, the diamonds that 
sparkled against her white neck, the one brilliant star 
ablaze above her white forehead. 

She took her latch-key from some mysterious pocket, 
and, with a manlike independence of gesture, opened the 
door of her rooms. How utterly absurd it was that a 
queen should live in the slums ! 

Alone in her sitting-room Hilda stood before the 
looking-glass. Her charity had never been cold pity, 
but rather the striving of a big heart after something 
worth loving. Now she was satisfied, the past had 
melted away like ice before the sunshine, her destiny 
lay .lot in narrow ways, but in the larger world of fullest 



I20 CHAINS 

life. The blood raced in her veins, health, strength, 
courage, made her radiant, her face was flushed, her 
eyes alight, and she knew that the glass told a new 
delightful truth that she was very beautiful. She did 
not know how beautiful, the glass cannot tell the tale of 
all the fascination which bewilders men, the strong 
personality which makes a great-hearted woman lovely 
beyond all measure of regular features, or of perfect 
colour. Talk by the hour, write by the mile, but the 
gentlewoman to whom men will confess their sins as to 
a priest, who makes the dreadful blunders which one 
dare not judge, who moves in an aura of love, and leaves 
a memory behind her passing the perfume of violets, is 
not for the portrayal of man or mirror, nor can she be 
classified, labelled, and set on view by an inferior writer 
of books. 

Said Hilda to the mirror : " You went to the opera to 
tell him — ^you haven't told him. You never looked so 
well in all your life. If you didn't want him to love you 
why did you wear this frock ! He loves you more than 

ever now, and you " 

With a little sigh she turned away from the glass — 
conscious of being desperately wicked and half proud of 
it. She went slowly across the room to a table where 
Barbara— good soul— had left the spirit-lamp, a kettle, 
the teapot, even matches. 

" Now, what does she think of me ? " said Hilda — " for 
shame— she's set two cups ! " She stored one of them 
away with its saucer in the cupboard. And then she 
saw a letter in the tray — address type-written — surely 
some wretched bill. " Shall I open it ? No, to-morrow 
will do for that." So she sat down and opened the letter. 



" My Dear Hilda,— Do you think it was quite kind 
of you to deny me the privilege of attending you to- 



CHAINS ,j, 

night at the Metropoh-tan Opera House ? I enclose the 
cardjor n,y box. which is at your disposal during Z 

" Yours ever, 

"Marshall Gault." 
Any fool would have known that such a letter must 
enrage and humiliate, but then Gault was a foo . tlc«ess 
in every matter relating to women. 

Her face became very white as she read, her eves 
ghttered angrily while she tore the ticket to shreds tT'n 

•• He'ctfdn-t'' ''' =r'°P'=-"'^ type-written iope 

He couldn t even address that himself-not even that" 

She tore up the envelope, also the letter, she sco ched 

her fingers trying to burn the scraps scorched 

spie!."^°'^°' '''■"' ^°' °"' "'^^' ' '■°^&°t him-and his 

Sweeping into her bedroom she took from her iewel 
case a plain gold chain bracelet, which, wi^h a Wc^uJ 



CHAPTER XVI 



THE SIEGE PERILOUS 



Haraldson went on his way inspired with love to 
fight for all that was best worth gaining in the world. 
His past seemed like an engraving, a grey thing on 
paper, his present charged with light, blazing with colour. 
Had he been blind before that all things should stand 
out now in vividly contrasted hues ? 

For three days he worked as he never had worked 
before, his editorials became the talk of the town, yet 
dissatisfied, filled with a restless sense of wasted time, 
he counted the hours lost until he could speak with 
Hilda. On the fourth night Straight dragged him to a 
gathering of the Reformers' Ci:ib, held in the room on 
the roof. 

" There's going to be fun," said Straight, " our re- 
formers are wild with news. Come on, old fellow, or 
there'll not be a chair to sit in." 

The place was already crowded when they came in 
— the great big room with a wooden roof lika a school- 
house, and a dais curtained off at the upper end, doubt- 
less for et'tertainments. The lights flared down upon 
circles of unpretentious men, leaders all, the organizers 
and administrators in every phase of social and political 
reform. They came to the club because they were 
private friends of Father Jared, who saw no difference 
between the washed and the unwashed, but welcomed 



THE SIEGE PERILOUS ,23 

millionaire and proletarian, jurist and anarchist, prelate 
and infidel ahkc. Foul water as well as clear St! 
«^e sun and .t must be a dirty character which had no 
gleam ,n response to the little pastor who treated every 
man he met as a recruit for the army of angels Brou^hf 
together by Father Jared. the Livation st and £ 
Dom,mcan fr.ar found that they had in common with 
the Anti-Trust attorney and the Socialist orator a love 

' MostTS;:'"'^' "r ^'r' '''"^ '° -'^^^ - ^^°^^- 

the bdfrv R V ""^ ^"■"^^'' '°"""*="'' "^^^' bats in 
he belfry But you just wait and see our dear old 
Leader conductmg a business meeting. He's the cream 
of the whole joke." The hum of conversa ion wlxed 
louder than usual, men were gathering here and there In 
larger groups, words passed from one to another which 
were received with bursts of indignant comment. 
But what s the matter ? " said Brand 
"Matter enough," was the answer. "You'll hear all 
that s good for you in a minute." 

,rhlf '"^ f^"' '". ^ ^°'"'''' ^"■^'■ght ordered two 
schooners of beer, which an attendant brought in haste 
because the Club Secretary was not a maf to be kept 
waiting. And since nothing would move his chum to 

t^^r : \*°''' ^'■'"'^ '^S^" *° ^^k ^'-'h a new 
interest as to who were the men who sat at neighbour 

Zri ?r "°^^'ff--' Straight seemed to Si 
these last few weeks, since love had opened his eyes to 
he facts of life. This dry sardonic man with the bitter 
ongue might gibe and sneer and gibe for all Brand 
car.d, for now he could see underneath, this deep buried 
gentleness which the quivering sensitiveness of a shy 
nature had masked with a visor of ice. 

Who are they ? Well, that elderly youth'vescues sor- 
rowful women, and the stout party next to him is 



'!■!: 



124 



THE SIEGE PERILOUS 



X ," one of the greatest American statesmen ; " and 

yonder's Senator Y , desperately astonished by the 

news, to judge by the cock of his ear. The tonsured 
party, debauching himself with a goblet of ice-water, is 
a Romanist Missionary. The gesticulating sufferer with 
a schooner of beer is a sljm cobbler Socialist. That 
man coming in is Captain Baxendale. When he was 
skipper of a ferry on North River he got run into, sink- 
ing — blocked up the hole with his own body while the 
mate ran for shallow water. He nearly froze to death, 
but they didn't lose a single passenger. Here's Dr. 
Schmiti, the Nurses' Friend, they call him. Well, 
Doctor, how's things .' Let me introduce Mr. Haraldson. 
Here, Willie," this to an imp in waiting, " beer for the 
Doctor. Q jick, you young monkey. Cigar, Doctor ? " 

Brand shook hands with the physician, who sat down 
beside them, and talked in private with Straight. 

" Well," said the Doctor, presently, " what do you 
think of our Club ? " 

" Pleased all to pieces," Brand answered heartily. 
" I've seen a few societies out West — Knights of Labour, 
Knights of Pythias, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine — all 
regalias, sounding titles, and big subscriptions, but 
this " 

"Hello," said Straight, "here comes the Father at 
last — wild as a loon, and the sub-committee raging at 
heel." 

" Who's that ? " asked Brand. 

" Pederson, the Socialist. He's chief stereotyper on 
the Avenger — has an awful wife — hence the ragginess of 
the beard." 

Father Jared gave a series of short orders, which 
cleared out the waiters and set a guard at the door. 
Then he took the chair, and rapped on a table for 
silence. 



THE SIEGE PERILOUS 



thisreJ;/ ''"'°" "^""'^ *° "ay a fe. word, to 

anrf?h'"""'" ^"'"'°" 'P"''^ '■" a harsh, raucous voice 
and the manner current among Socialists of the anks ' 

this C ub'to tT- ""''. "'=^''^ ^^° ^ -- ''^P-'^d by 

nf Ti,;f u r ■ ^^as— the mysterious d sappearance 

llf th """f:"'^ "■"•="■ ^^^'^ -"h a thouTand 
each l^arL ^ "^ ^ *""™P'> °f human labour, 

and sSr"^ Sinr°;T" '°^'' °' '"^"^- --chandi.e 

pub.i:T:L4r^^^^^^^^^^ 

hat «r:o%f- r ?T' "'•= ^''^^'^' the'ij^^:;;, 

nave come to their death by human agency-that thev 

have been blown up in mid-ocean wL d'^namite I 

So' fa? thr"'"' r T''''''' ^'^^ Americrpeopie." 

"The facts I " they cried. " The facts i " 
direc7v !ttr" f."'^''^'''^"^'^ his bent back, looked 

rage forgot th/'- '"''' ^'"^ ^ '^"'''1^" "urst of 
taUsm'T '''^'"f"""'^'"^ of a committee. "Capi- 

aphatTfti ''r' ^ I -<=- 

"Orderf oTderf Cht""' '" '""'" "°°'"" 

" I will explain. You yell shame at me for denouncing 

on of your sainted capitalists. I make that accusat'on 

-I have proved it up to the hilt A m t f 

speculator has been, for'months befot these mTssalt 

London, se hng m secret, while the Press was busv 

^SZSt ^'"■Pf^-''""'"^P"- that Zl sS 
as his might be made to greater advantage. At the 



126 



THE SIEGE PERILOUS 



same time this man was buying in secret also at Berlin, 
Paris, in London, and New York, stoci<s of the German, 
French, and American transatlantic lines. I have had 
detectives at work ; I have placed their evidence in 
charge of a sub-committee of this Club ; I have " 

" Name the capitalist ! Name the man ! " 

" The name is a household word among you, a word 
for infamy, a proverb for daring crime ; but what is the 
use of it to you who are not Socialists to avenge man- 
kind ? This capitalist is Doctor Rex Clewston ! " 

Senator Schultz stood up. " Mr. Chairman, I haven't 
the advantage of being a Socialist, being only a muddle- 
headed attorney. It appears that the Club appointed 
a committee to investigate certain statements made by 
the orator who has just challenged a wicked plutocracy 
to stand up for judgment. May we be favoured with 
the report of the actual committee ? " 

Father Jared rose. " I believe," he said, " that I'm 
supposed to report for the sub-committee on Mr. 
Pederson's statements." He produced from a pocket 
in his cassock a sheaf of papers. " Here is the Report, 
and now," his voice shook with emotion, "am I a 
visionary ? Are there no wrongs to redress, no enemies 
of our Master in high places ? A body in decay breeds 
worms — a city dragons. Have you not seen the glitter 
of their scales? Have you not beheld strange shapes 
writhing through the darkness? The dragons are in 
your streets, burrowing the foundations of your houses, 
devouring women as in the ancient days — not dragons 
mythical but actual, bred of a foul corruption. Come, 
who will slay these dragons ? I told you once of the 
siege perilous at King Arthur's table, the seat in which 
no man might sit save in defiance of Satan and instant 
fear of hell. If this," the priest laid his hands upon a 
chair, " if this were the siege perilous, who is there here 



THE SIEGE PERILOUS 



first, then paus'ed tS h ^ ^^■■m7cuT' ^^ 
he protested, "as the wretched ,rWK u ^*'*'™^"' 
your proceedintr. 7 """'^"^''^scribe who must record 

worm, it >s the sense of the meeti n'^thft-l!!!! - '"'"^ ' 

sne^^^Vrplttr/aredr " ''' '-''"y^^ ^^^ «!"'' 
Straight sat down, grinning 

Gault your Reformi^ • * r ' ■" "^ing for Marshall 
Sta£'T^;^4X ~:/-/-'-ntofthe Uni^^^ 

that Clewston^ir^t duHo fold %1''T'J'"'' ' "''^°" 
because we talk U ., I '^ ''^"''^ ^"d expire 

man behind the gun." ""°"' ' ■" '^^ gunner, the 



CHAPTER XVII 



THE DRAGON AWAKES 

On the following morning Brand, in the course of a 
little walk before breakfast, was enjoying with keen 
delight the Midsummer sunshine, the twitter of the 
birds, and the glorious fresh wind in Central Park. A 
buggy was approaching in the drive ; and Brand highly 
approved of the chestnut ho.-? with its showy action 
and arched neck, until detectin'/ ^igns of a check rein, he 
looked up indignantly at the elderly fop who was 
driving. The elderly fop reined the horse up with a 
jerk, saluted with his whip, then, to Brand's astonishment, 
actually hailed him. 

" How do. Brand 1 " quoth the fop. " Jump in and 
come for a ride." 

"By all the powers!" said Brand. "Why, it's the 
Colonel ! " 

"Jump in, young man." • 

"On one condition," said Brand, patting the horse's 
neck. " This," he slipped the check-rein from its hook, 
" is an infernal shame." 

The Colonel scowled haughtily, flicked the horse, and 
drove on, thinking to leave Brand behind ; but the 
giant swung himself lightly into the buggy with a com- 
pliment on the chestnut trotter that would have appeased 
a machine-gun. 

" Sir," said the Colonel, stiflBy, " some people presume 
to take liberties." 

128 



THE DRAGON AWAKES 



practice on fire br^de Tes-no Z or ^k" "'"■'='" 

telephone subscriber in New York city ^ ^ 

on^^:^Z^^ ""^^'"'"'^ P-'-' '- 
awkein h1s,«n ^^'^ "^ '" ^ '"°'°'"' chauffeur 
awiKt in his seat, doors opening to the street Al=r„ 

"A great scheme ! " Brand laughed. 
the.r pn,fess.onal slumber ; fact is, that we shall depend 



130 



THE DRAGON AWAKES 



for lucccM on a little persecution from the regular pro- 
fession. Persecution, sir, is a great comfort, if taken in 
a proper spirit ; martyrdom is the cream of advertise- 
ment." 

Hrand seized the reins, for the Colonel, in his eloquence, 
was charging down upon the general public, which 
scattered as from a runaway fire-engine. 

" We hope, by the end of the year, to have sold patent 
rights for a hundred cities, foreign patent rights for 
every State in Europe, to have an alarm doctor for every 
precinct in the city, special solicitors to collect the fees 
owing to us for medical attendance, and mourners to 
attend all funerals. You will observe — there." They 
were approaching a little garage where workmen were 
decorating the front with a large brass plate. " That is 
one of our depdts. Here " — they dashed up to the doors 
— " we will inspect Alarm Station number five hundred 
and two, our first." 

" Homicide seems to be your way of attracting 
attention," said Brand, remembering sundry peaceful 
citizens frightened out of their wits by the Colonel's 
driving. 

Brand had a hunger pain, but the old gentleman was 
embarked upon a course of turgid pomposity no more to 
be stayed than the Mississippi ; and the stream of words 
rolled on until after half-an-hour the victim revolted with 
an imperative demand for breakfast before he would listen 
to another detail of electro-galvanic physicians, or fire- 
brigade assaults upon the sick. 

So they two drove down Broadway, when Brand, 
thrusting in a word edgeways, found his chance to switch 
off the monologue into a fresh train of ideas. 

" Colonel — about Clewston — I " 

" Well, sir, what about Clewston ? D n Clewston ! " 

The Colonel hated interruptions. 



1 



. 



THE DRAGON AWAKES ,3, 

"I want to know "-Brand was desperate-" Clewston's 
real name ; that is, if he has a real name. Or is he one 
of your myths?" 

" Sir, you will doubtless continue wanting to know for 
some considerable time. It's now about three months 
since we arrived in this city, and if you had one spark 
of mtelligence you'd have guessed from my many hints 
who Clewston is. Until you do guess you will not have 
betrayed sufficient intelligence to make it safe for me to 
connde m you." 

They were crossing Madison Square, after half-a-dozen 
narrow escapes from cc'lision with motors ; for the 
Colonel was driving now in jags "quite quietly," with 
the police in pursuit. 

with''"lu'^''' ''°*"' '*''' ^"""^ ™"^*''*'' "'''" ^°'"' 
" Now, Brand "-they dashed into the full ti.le of roar- 
ing Broadway-" don't you get up on your ear. If it 
were safe to speak, I'd tell you who Clewston is. I'd 
have told you long ago, but, with your savage temper, 
the knowledge would co-t you your life. Wait till 
we get where there's some breakfast, and I'll give 
you a few pointers, sonny ; for here it ain't safe to 
discourse. 

A few minutes later, while a loafer was holding the 
chestnut horse, and the Colonel and Brand were taking 
their coffee and rolls in a quiet restaurant, the old gentle- 
man whispered a few remarks across the table. 

" Ten years ago, the man Jones, whose real name I 
cannot-dare not-tell you, for whom I did the alibi 
business at the time of the train-wrecking, was thirty 
years old five foot seven in height, wore a black mous- 
tache and inriperial. dressed fashionably, had clear grey 
eyes, was thick-set and stout as a bull. At that Ume 
Clewston-I mean the original Dr. Rex Clewston- was 



132 



THE DRAGON AWAKES 



an old man, with a white whisker, weak eyes, and 
a shaky voice. I'd seen considerable of old man 
Clewston. 

" When I first joined Clewston's as a detective, the 
white whisker was still flourishing, the eyes were still 
hidden with a green shade ; but the shaky voice had 
become full, strong, and young." 

" You mean " 

The Colonel was silent for a few minutes, frowning at 
a waiter, who would linger near the table. Then he sent 
the waiter for more coffee. 

" I mean " — for emphasis the Colonel was rapping 
Brand's sleeve with a tea spoon — "that the original 
Clewston sold out, and retired to the pastoral delights of 
a damp cottage, a hen run, and a mossy well full of 
microbes. Frugal habits had old man Clewston — they 
carried him off. I mean that my young friend Jones 
had bought the Clewston business — the name, the good- 
will, the whisker, the eye-shade, the habit of seclusion, 
and a discarded housekeeper. They say that the woman 
is his principal fetish — a witch— and has actually married 
him. I guess he richly deserves her. Anyway, from 
the time he acquired the witch, Clewston's power began 
to grow, year after year, until now our mutual friend is 
the strongest man in the New World. Theatrical, this 
eye-shade and whisker business } Yes ; but Clewston 
plays his melodrama with real weapons — aye, and real 
blood." 

" More lies, more lies ! he's a wholesale dealer in 
them," was Brand's conclusion. 

The Colonel did not say anything about the letter 
from Clewston that lay like a leaden weight against his 
heart. He could not confess to Brand that the fear of 
death was upon him while he talked ; that as a squirrel 
is drawn to a rattlesnake, he must obey Clewston's 



THE DRAGON AWAKES 133 

summons within twelve hour. Yesterday he might have 
run away ; to-day he dared not 

That evening, when the cioclcs were striiting ten, 
Colonel Giggleswick made his way down Broadway. 

Very squat and black was the Frailty Investigation 
building beside the gigantic >ouse of Gault's Avenger; 
and yet it rose ten storeys from the ground, and Dr. 
Rex Clewston's office, on the top floor, was more than a 
hundred feet above the pavement. As the Colonel went 
up in the lift, he noted the various departments with a 
horrible sense of familiarity : " Purity Guild "—a ruthless 
system of espial upon bogus philanthropists, baby- 
farmers, rack-renters, private asylums, pawnbrokers, and 
sweaters— not very lucrative. « City Branch "—gets up 
bogus companies to trap promoters, brokers, professional 
directors, and financial journalists— decidedly remunera- 
tive. "Private Enquiries "—an office that buys up 
lists of clients from opium joints, druggists, gambling 
hells, and other worse haunts of the self-indulgent ; 
invests in information supplied by shady doctors, lawyers 
and journalists ; controls the professional incendiary, buys 
from detectives the names of shoplifters, observes the 
cnmmal records of the police— all fruitful sources of 
blackmail which have established a veritable reign of 
terror in New York. "Political Branch "-handles the 
bogus companies gotten up in the City Department; 
studies the past opinions and frailties of municipal, state, 
and federal politicians. " Law Branch "-keeps records 
of courts, controls unjust judges and magistrates— a 
department deeply versed in unsavoury litigation 
'Labour Branch "—bleeds the secret societies which 
permeate the American Commonwealth, controls the 
Irades Unions, being head-quarters of many campaigns 
of Labour against Capital. " Exchange Bureau "—by 
which, thanks to the Colonel, the Frailty Investigation 



I'll 



134 THE DRAGON AWAKES 

became the central detective system of the civih'zed 
world. "Library"— a department of secret archives. 
" Private "—a barrack for the staff of detectives. 

So the Colonel alighted from the lift at the outer door 
of the Executive Office, and, sending in his card, waited 
until eleven p.m. for an interview with Dr. Clewston 
That was a bad hour for the Colonel, a very bad hour ; 
indeed the messenger who was sent for him at the end 
of it found the poor old gentleman limp and trembling, 
scarcely able to follow him as he staggered down a 
passage, wiping the cold perspiration from his face. At 
the last door the Colonel hung back. 

"Wait a moment, can't you?" he cried. "1 want 
to " 

But the messenger flung a door open, and the Colonel 
found himself tottering into a great dark room. On the 
left side were heavy draperies drawn across the windows; 
on the right was a door leading to those mysterious 
regions where Dr. Clewston was supposed to be tended 
by his witch ; in front a huge painting of Justice set in 
a deep gold frame, and before it a desk, where a reading- 
lamp, covered with a green cardboard shade, threw its 
light upon Clewston's desk. That awful personage was 
seated behind the table, his long white beard revealed 
m the light, his face almost invisible in the shadow, his 
eyes concealed by such a shade as old men wear when 
they are nearly blind. The Colonel was not asked to sit 
down ; the door behind him swung to, leaving him alone 
with his fate ; he stood supporting himself on his cane, 
rocking to and fro as though he would fall. 

"So," said Dr. Clewston, "I have once more the 
honour of your company, Peter Quiggle, alias Giggles- 
wick. What curious names you choose, my venerable 
friend I " 

The Colonel moaned feebly. 



THE DRAGON AWAKES 135 

"I have sent for you that I may have the pleasure of 
seeing the first man who has disobeyed me. I must say 
you don't look very formidable. But I have business 
with you. This ex-fireman, ex-editor, ex-tramp, your 
fnend Haraldson, last night attended a meeting of 
lunatics. In such company Mr. Haraldson "—here the 
great man Uughed— " made a declaration of war against 
me. A reasoning being would have reserved his ammuni- 
tion and kept his mouth shut. Unless somebody saves 
., Mr. Haraldson from his follies, Gault will be wanting a 
new fighting editor." 

The Colonel fell back against the door by which he 
had entered, and, in his terror, gave signs of collapse 

"Your friend," continued Dr. Clewston, "is very 
young ; and his infancy should protect him, but that 
he IS becoming a nuisance." 
The Colonel sank upon his knees, moaning pitifully 
"Very pathetic," said Dr. Clewston. "Lay your 
hoary locks on the carpet You are, however, wasting 
my time with gyrations better fitted for the variety 
stage. Your serio-comic friend has certain documents 
m his possession, delivered to him by Messrs. Vansly- 
perken and Schneidam, solicitors; also some papers 
which you entrusted to him at your last interview on "— 
Dr. Clewston glanced at some memoranda— " Tuesday 
week, at eleven p.m. Bring these to me, and I will 
allow him to leave the city; get them without his know- 
ledge, either of the theft, or of this interview, and I may 
be reconciled to your living out the rest of your dotage 
say m Europe ; refuse, and-but I need not trouble you 
with particulars. Get up and out of this room-you 
make me sick with your slobbering." 
The Colonel uttered a loud cry. 
"Out with you," said Dr. Clewston. " I'm busy." 
And he returned to his writing. 



CHAPTER XVIII 



TREACHERY 

Brand and Straight were on their way to work for 
since the latter's office— the Cyclone Explosives— was 
in the Avenger building, the two always walked down 
Broadway together, enjoying half-an-hour of mutual 
silence and smoke, as became chums. 

"By the way," said Straight, who must needs be 
talking, "what was the Colonel doing in your den last 
night ? " 

Brand awoke from a reverie about Hilda, and flicking 
the ashes from his cigar : 
" In my den last night ? I didn't have any visitors." 
"Why, you're dreaming. I was working pretty late 
at the office, and when I got home, after midnight, there 
was Colonel Giggleswick squatted on the doorstep 
catching a cold. Of course, I thought he was drunk' 
told him he ought to be ashamed of himself, go home to 
bed, and all that sort of thing ; but the poor beggar only 
smelt of whisky, he was as sober as I was, and, if you 
please, crying. Asked him what was the trouble, but 
he got up stiflf as a ramrod, would be greatly obliged if 
I'd mind my own business ; and, if I'd only take up his 
card to you, I should have an old man's blessing, which 
m a more reverential age, had been the prize to which 
youth aspired, for which standards had been carried to 

victory, and glorious institutions had . Well I let 

136 



TREACHERY ,37 

the old buffer in with my latchkey, showed him up to 
the door of your room, and left you to rebuke him. The 
disreputable old night-bird; I guess you cussed him for 
wakmg you ? ' 

"Oh. yes," said Brand, with a queer little gasp. "I 
quoted Ae western bull-punchers to him. Queer old 
cock I Say, Straight," Brand pulled up short, " IVe got 
to go back nght away-forgotten something. I'll ]ook 
m at your office during the afternoon." 

He did not notice Straight's whistle of condensed 
astonishment; m the innocence of his heart, it never 
occurred o Brand that he had confessed entire ignorance 
of the Colonel s vis.t. One would have supposed that a 
man of sense a man of business, engaged in a dangerous 
ntngue. wou d have been more cautious; yet Brand, at 
the outset of his adventure, was constantly betraying 
h-mself. But the Colonel, neither honest nor inexperU 
enced, made grave mistakes-talking aloud of things 
not safe to whisper; and now. compelled to rob Brand 
of the documents demanded, on pain of death, by 

ihZT'^: ^^u """'""^ ^'^"'S'^* '° ''' him almost in 
«ie act Straight, too. ought to have been wise as the 
serpent; yet he had countenanced Father Jared in the 
acceptance of a confessed incendiary and spy for service 

should h'ti'^'^'"''- Clewston,of all men living, 
should have been discreet; yet his train-wrecking had 

t^cl'n?""'.'.'' ^'!°"^' ^""'^ •>" '"^"•"'^ of involving 
fte Colonel .„ the crime of murder had shown absolute 

^/l"" '° *' t^'^P'^'' '"°*'^^^ ^"'^ incentives of a 
revengeful enemy. Brand could not intrigue in cold 

wt?Lvond"" v' ^'"'■^•'*' '"^^ ^°'°-'' no^Clewston 
S dl '•,""!;• ^'''^°'"' •" ^^'- ««Pt in dire 
Sel ^. "^•'1^"'^ '"^" '^^='' to the cunning of 

passion and mcompetence; the detection of crime is 



«38 



TREACHERY 



entrusted to men whose senses— through civiKzation— 
are degraded by artificial habits until they seem wholly 
obtuse, with neither scent nor taste, hearing, or even 
sight So far, for the beginning in cold blood ; after- 
wards, under stress of mortal danger, Clewston, his 
assailant, and their allies, learned to fight in silence. 
So Brand, getting back to his room, discovered that, 
while he had slept heavily, as big men need to sleep, 
the Colonel, given access to his room by Straight, had 
broken open his desk, rummaged the papers therein, and 
here on the floor were two matches that had been burnt 
during the search. The documents relating to the 
King's legacy were intact ; Hilda's glove, that Brand 
had captured, was tossed aside; but the Colonel's last 
will and testament, together with Michael Gault's 
memoranda concerning the train-wrecking were gone 
— stolen. 

So the Colonel was a thief; and the papers that had 
been taken were those of Michael Gault's bequest 
that compromised him, that charged him with being 
Clewston's agent for the murder of the " King." Brand 
sat on his rumpled bed and swore. 
" How did the Colonel find out about these papers ? " 
But it was time for Brand to be at his office ; the 
sniffing woman, too, was at the door, waiting to "do" 
his room ; so he put the remaining documents in his 
pocket, kissed the glove, which he hid in the secure 
recesses of his pocket-book, closed his desk— the lock 
was broken now— and departed, with his straw hat on 
the back of his head, hands in his pockets, eyes gleaming 
with temper. 

Arriving at his office half-an-hour late, he unlocked 
the door as usual, walked in, and, to his amazement, 
discovered Gault inspecting the pigeon-hole library. 
"Well, sir,"— Mr. Gault turned to Brand with an 



TREACHERY ,3, 

ominous smile-" I hope that my office hours are not 
interfering too much with your private leisure " 
Brand hung up his hat on a peg. 

robS7 '"■" '**'■ '" '• J'"'* ^°""*' °"' *•«* I h«ve been 

'•Indeed I" Mr. Gault sat down at Brand's desk 

That IS ingenious I Most of my clerks evr,... JT 

selves with toothache, or the dea^h o t aunt"!'^- 

^^^ ongmality is acceptable." ' ^"""^ 

^.^Brand flushed. He was not used to being called a 

"I have been examining the state of your records 

?iCr '''• '" "'''' '"^ '"^ '-^ "^^ 

to dL^-'" *'*"" '* ^°""'' '"■ ^ ^'^^ '""' ■■" ^^views up 
"So I observe, Mr. Haraldson ; in fact, the whole nf 
your rouune work is that of an enthusiast." WouM yo° 
like a boy to assist you ? " ^ 

"My letter index is all behind, sir. I'm a fool at 
cor espondence and accounts; but I'm going to malter 
that myself, and a boy would make me lazy'' 

Very good. And now. Mr. Haraldson ''-this with 
a sudden flash of the grey eyes-" what the dev 1 doTou 
mean by sending in this trash for publication ? " ^ 

Brand glanced at the "copy" which Mr. Gault took 
dL .K ".''"'''-^" ^^'='« ''^ ^^'i volunteered ye ^er- 

ot the King Line, two other great English companies 
had begun to suffer. Of the Mountain Line°^he 5/ 
£//<« had perished with six hundred people • and even 
now the newsboys cried in the streets of th i.2 Hner 

any doubt as to the meaning of this awful slaughter • for 
Enghsh trans-atlantic shipping had fallen in the ma^ 



140 



TREACHERY 



', I 



until its shares were waste paper, while American, 
French, and German liners had seized the trade. 
Who was there at secret war with England? What 
but the gang of murderers that once attempted to 
massacre the swarm of passengers crossing London 
Bridge, sent packages of dynamite to be thumped about 
in the cloak-rooms at the Metropolitan termini, and tried 
with infernal machines to b'ow up half the public 
buildings in the British capital? 

There had been, Brand wrote, a long truce for the 
overtures of a Parliamentary leader "with his hand 
upon the throttle-valve of crime " ; ten more years of 
mixed politics ; now the truce was expired, and the 
liberators of Ireland, wise with prolonged experience, 
appeared to be making use once more of the Great 
Republic as a base of operations against her mother 
country. The traditions of politicians who began the 
war with filibustering expeditions against Canada, who 
influenced the United States Government to hamper 
the Canadians in the suppression of the first Riel 
rebellion, who showed the capacity of the Irish for self- 
government by agrarian crime in Ireland and Irish civic 
misrule in America, seemed now to be carried out to sea, 
but with more than Irish comp^Lence. Hitherto Irish- 
American politicians had been so grossly dishonest that 
the crimes of their dupes had been intended mainly as 
advertising — a mere display of activity to please the 
subscribing Irish- American public. Now it seemed that 
some man of executive genius controlled the movement 
for Ireland's liberation ; and the Republic could no 
longer ignore these atrociously malignant assaults de- 
livered against the subjects, the property, and the 
national prestige of a Friendly Power. The Fighting 
Editor had not a drop of British blood in his veins ; but, 
as an American and as a man, he objected to such 



TREACHERY ,4, 

methods of warfare. So when Gault took him to task 
for his editorial, Brand was astonished. 

"Why. sir," he protested, " there's not a decent paper 
m the country but has said the same thing ! " 

" Who is conducting the Avengtr, you or I ? Then 
what right have you, Mr. Haraldson, to put forth this 
sensational gush as my opinion ? Don't you know that 
the Irish party here has no ambition except embezzle- 
ment—a gang too fatuous to do real mischief? These 
Liberators, poor fools, are only the tools, the jackals of a 
speculator. If you want his name, he's my next-door 
neighbour here, that devil Clewston." 

" I can produce the proofs I " said Brand. 

"Take good care of them." was the answer. 

He tore the editorial to shreds, threw the remains into 
the waste-paper basket, and walked to the door. 

" If, Mr. Haraldson, I ever catch you writing for the 
Avenger except at my instance-you know what to 
expect. 

So Brand was left alone, stupefied. Was this the 
greatest philanthropist in the world I Was this the 
power for good that he had hoped to move against 
iJt. Clewston I 

If the Colonel was a thief, what was Marshall Gault ? 

An hour later orders came from "the bo.ss " that he 
should write an article inveighing against British mis- 
rule m Ireland, and protesting against the absurd 
attempt of the American press to fasten the charge 
of dynamihng ships upon the Irish patriots. If Brand 
had been the usual slave journalist who betrays his gods 
to order, that article would have been written. As it 
was Mr. Gault was met with a direct refusal, at which 

Dur^ u u'-T^ '"'° ''" "y^'-' >'^' f°^ >>i^ °wn 
purposes he held his peace, nor could Brand conjecture 

why he was allowed to remain in the service of an 



14* 



TREACHERY 



i I! ! 



employer whom he had openly dated to defy. All that 
day he brooded over the matter in the intervals of his 
work. He had insulted Gault, yet nothing happened 
except a suggestion that he was irritable with overwork, 
and had better Uke a three days' holiday to recover his 
temper. 

Should he send in his resignation, falling back upon 
the King's bequest? No, Brand knew that he was 
worth more than his salary to Gault. He would remain 
while he could in a position that might help him to fight 
Clewston— aye, and perhaps the "boss" might value 
him the more for being a man and not a tame liar. And 
maybe, after all, the "boss" knew more than he did 
about Irish politics— perhaps he had been rather a cub 
to set himself up against the great journalist; still it 
was with miserable misgivings that he went down 
the lift after office hours to discuss this matter with 
Straight. 

Here was Straight's room with lettering on the glass 
panel, "Cyclone Explosives Syndicate. Secretary." 
Brand walked in to find the room empty ; the door that 
led to the General Manager's office was closed; 
Straight's hat and coat hung on their peg behind a 
screen ; behind the screen, too, was a basin for washing, 
a towel, a mirror. Brand had neglected to wash his 
hands up-stairs,he would do so now, in order to be ready 
to leave with Straight, when the latter came out from 
seeing the General Manager. And while he was still 
behind the screen, splashing at the basin, somebody 
came in and spoke. 

" Is Misther Straight here ? Ah, there y'are and 
alone. Well, soor, we've made a real foine job av it, and 
they've sint me around for the money." 

Brand was thinking about Gajlt— he hardly listened— 
doubtless his coat-tail, projecting from behind the screen, 



TREACHERY ,^3 

now or n, tell h.m-aL he'il kS you r ''" "'''' 

soul finds out that youVe gte^lhe st^ . '"^ '"°^'*' 
not an hour to live." ^"'^y- y°"^e 



I 



144 



TREACHERY 



He took the boy by the shoulders, pitched him aside, 
opened the door, thrust him out, listened to his stagger- 
ing footsteps along thi. passage. Then he sat down in 
Straight's office chair, but he could not rest. His throat 
was dry ; he went to the pitcher of iced water behind 
the screen and drank ; he crossed to the windows and 
threw them wide open ; then back to the chair, resting 
his elbows on the desk, covering his face with his 
hands. 

Straight, his own friend, secretary of the Liberators I 
" Cyclone Explosives," there it was on the letter heads, 
painted on the safe, written up on the windows, on the 
door — everywhere. The Colonel was a thief; Gault, 
the great philanthropist, in sympathy with the Liberators; 
Straight their secretary I Then Brand looked up, and 
lifted his hands towards the evening light that streamed 
in from above the city. 
" Whom shall I trust now ? " 

Again he lay back in the chair brooding, his eyes cold, 
his white teeth gnawing at his lips. " Silence I " he 
muttered. " Silence I Silence I " 

Then he heard a key turned in the door behind him, 
and Straight was coming out from the manager's room. 
" Hello, Brand, how long have you been here ? " 
" A minute or two," said Brand quietly ; " been with 
your manager ? " 

" No," said Straight, " I was round at one of the other 
offices." He went to the basin behind the screen, where 
he took off his coat and began to wash. 

But Brand turned cautiously in his seat, so that he 
could see into the manager's room. He knew that the 
windows were in the right wall ; he saw that there was 
no door either in front where the building ended, or on 
the left towards the lobby. Straight could not have 
been in that room when the lt>oy screamed ; there was 



TREACHERY ,^j 

no •PP«rent way out of it exce^t into thi. office, and yet 
Straight had r.ot heard I . • ■« yei 

-Been waahing, I see," said Straight, with his dripping 
tS'oo.? *"" ' ''"" "*'•"'' ''•^ ^^ -ny toweUn 

'• Don't chatter." was Brand's rough answer ; " I've got 
a headache." " 

" Coming home ? " asked Straight. 

Brand walked to the door. "Home? No. I want 
to be alone.' 

And he went out Alone we were born, alone must 
live, alone shall die. 



CHAPTER XIX 



iill 



THE DRAWING OF THE SWORD 

That eveiiing Brand went to the head-quarter offices 
of the Alarm Syndicate, where he sent up his card 
to the General Manager, Colonel Giggleswick. The 
messenger returned, saying that the Colonel was out ; 
but Brand brushed the youngster aside, walked up-stairs, 
found the General Manager's room, and went straight in. 
Colonel Giggleswick was reading his evening paper. 

" Well," said Brand, perching himself on the corner of 
the table, " how's things ? " 

The Colonel went on reading the paper. Brand began 
to grin. 

" Colonel, what do you think of the documents you 
stole two nights ago from my room ? " 

The old man still continued to read ; but the news- 
paper was shaking in his hands. 

" Playing possum ? " suggested Brand. 

The Colonel looked slowly round, laying the paper on 
his knees. " You are trespassing, sir. If you don't leave 
this room, I shall send for the police." 

" Good," said Brand, " to give yourself up on my charge 
of burglary." 

"And this," cried the Colonel, "is your gratitude! 
Last night I saved your life, Haraldson." 

" Thanks," Brand yawned, " much obliged. I'll trouble 
you for my papers," 

146 



THE DRAWING OF THE SWORD 147 

"They're safe." sneered the Colonel, "out of the reach 
ot a tool, 

" Out of your reach, eh } " 
ClZton"'"''*^ *e Colonel, "in the hands of Dr. 

"That's bad. Colonel— for you." 

"Brand, yester eve Clewston sent for me to point 
out that you were such an idiot that, by loud talking 
in public places, you had placed yourself at his mercy 
Lntil he understood the real state of affairs he actually 
threatened me for listening to your vapourines " 

"And you. Colonel?" 

"I defied him!" 

"I wish I'd been there," Brand chuckled. "It must 
have been gorgeous I " 

"Clewston told me that only on one condition would 
he allow you to live. I must get those papers from 
them'" ''°" compromise yourself by using 

cC^ft ^°" "'"^•" ^"Sge«"^d Brand, "and asked me to 
give them up." 

«,™m i''*'' "°' "^^n dealing with a blockhead that 
would have been my policy" 

hJf^°v"'!'" ^''^ Brand, "you are too chivalrous by 
half. Youve such trust in Clewston that you've put 
ZT "^\^''^''" »>- t-th. He had no hold over 

murdS-'" K . ^'^T' *"" *"' *°° ^""^^ '° '''^^ "P that 
murder, but now he can prove you guilty of the train- 

kiHna"!ff' M 1% """^ ^°" sentenced to death for the 
killing of Matt Fortescue. engineer of the pilot. Your 
evidence against him ? What's the use of that ! You're 

chivXu's." """"■'"''' " ''"'■^'"'' •"" ''' '"*' y°»''« 

,J^^ Colonel's face had become livid while Brand 
spoke, ^now he staggered across the room, took liquor 



m 



liii 



148 THE DRAWING OF THE SWORD 

and a glass from a corner cupboard, drank a big dram, 
then reeled back to his place. 

" What have I done ! " he moaned. " My G— d, what 
have I done ! " 

"Just put the rope round your neck," said Brand, 
pitifully, "you're not hanged— yet Those documents 
were only memoranda, but if Clewston gets hold of the 
original documents you're past praying for." 

"The originals?" cried the Colonel, starting from 
his seat. 

" Yes, the original reports of the detectives engaged 
for Michael Gault— who thought that it was you who 
wrecked the train." 

"Where are they?" The Colonel seized Brand by 
the shoulders. "Quick— where are they?" 

" Hands off," said Brand, coolly, thrusting the Colonel 
away. "The police head-quarters are on Mulberry 
Street; I guess the papers are in the archives of the 
Detective Bureau— that is unless Clewston gets there 
before you." 

" He can't get there yet ; he won't get my letter until 
the police office is closed for the night. Brand, I know 
the man who has the keys — for a thousand dollars I 
could get the use of them." 

" That's all right, give him a cheque." 

" My name ain't worth it." 

" If I find the money, can you guarantee that the news 
is kept from Clewston ? " 

The Colonel hesitated. 

" Then," said Brand, " when you bribe the man, say 
that if he doesn't keep his mouth shut, Clewston, your 
boss, will have him fired out of his job for corrupt 
practices." 

" That'll fetch him— I'll explain that I'm doing this— 
may I say for a wealthy friend ? " 



THE DRAWING OF THE SWORD 149 

There was a sneer in the Colonel's tone, but Brand, 
without comment, went to the writing-table and scribbled 
out a cheque. 

"What name?" 

The Colonel gave the officer's name. 

" Take that" Brand handed to him his cheque with 
the ink still wet; but, when the Colonel would have 
used blotting paper, interrupted him. " Come," he said, 
roughly, "no copying— leave it to dry." 

Colonel Giggleswick grinned. 

"Well, Mr. Millionaire, considering your salary, you 
know how to save money." 

"Or make it speculating," was the reply, "or inherit 
from a maiden aunt, or borrow it, or steal it — but that's 
my business. Now don't stand grinning, away with you 
to Mulberry Street, and look sharp. Clewston may be 
trying the same game." 

"But," the Colonel objected. " I " 

" Off with you, Colonel. What I do you expect me 
to compound your felonies for love ? Get out of this." 

Brand knew the Colonel so well by this time that he 
tracked the gentleman to the Police Bureau, waited 
outside during negotiations, and, on their successful 
completion, greeted him at the doorstep. 

" Now, Colonel, hand over." 

"I had an awful time," quavered the old fox; "let's 
liquor first" 

" Hand over the papers," said Brand. 

But the Colonel was too sharp for him. Drawing off 
suddenly he ran to a sewer grating under the kerb, held 
the heavy package between the bars, and looked up at 
Brand. 

"Young man, I guess your missing papers didn't 
exactly _/?«««/ Clewston's real name, and I've told you 
that it ain't safe for you to know. I see that these 



"if 



150 THE DRAWING OF THE SWORD 

originals give the thing dead away. Now, if you move, 
they go into the sewers ; but if you promise on your 
honour not to read them without my consent I'll leave 
them in your box at the safe depi sit." 

" Colonel, if you drop those papers, you die I " 
"My friend," the Colonel spoke with real dignity, 
"my life ain't worth taking. I've faced considerable 
risks to save yours." 

Brand bit his lip, for he had used his last argument, 
and the Colonel was master of the situation. 

" I promise not to read that paper. Will that please 

you? All right then. Come along, Colonel. It's your 

funeral if we're attacked on our way home. We'll have 

a drink." 

" Take these beastly papers," said the Colonel, hoarsely. 

" I'm not so strong as I was. But for sake don't 

read them. Don't open them. On your word of 
honour I " 
" All right. On my word of honour." 
Brand was tired out, and the clocks were striking 
eleven ; yet there was much to do, work that sickened 
him to think of, but which must be done. Clewston's 
action had followed so swiftly upon Brand's defiance at 
the Club, that there could be no doubt that a spy had 
been present Was Straight the spy ? With his whole 
heart Brand loathed the idea ; but yet this thing must 
be tested, for that night there was a session of the 
members, and a man who would fight with Dr. Clewston 
must not waste a chance. He went to the safe deposit, 
placed the documents in his locker, conducted the 
Colonel up-»tairs to the offices of the Alarm Syndicate, 
then proceeded alone to his Club. 

Brand had some hope that Clewston's spy might be a 
mere eavesdropper ; so, with cautious movements, he 
began to examine the upper lobby. Here the lai^e 



THE DRAWING OF THE SWORD 151 

door opened into the hall, yonder a small entrance 
evidently communicated with the roofs, for it was by 
this that the incendiary had found her way across the 
leads from Hilda's tenement. But there was a third 
door which he knew to be that of a little ante-room ■ 
and through this Brand ventured. The place was dark 
but on the further side was a small arch with two steps' 
m It, leadmg up to the dais that was shut off by curtains 
from the main hall. This raised platform occupied a 
recess, but the curtains made the place almost as dark as 
the ante-room. Brand could hear somebody speaking in 
the hall— the voice was that of Straight, the subject 
"Municipal Reform." It made Brand sick to hear 
Straight preaching about Reform. 

He struck a match, turned on the ante-room lamp, 
and so cast a glare of light into the recess, revealing a 
woman crouched down on the dais steps, turning about 
with startled eyes, rising hastily to shrink back against 
the further wall— the Incendiary I 

Silently Brand beckoned to her, and presently, with 
hesitating step, she came to him, shading her eyes from 
the glare. He pointed to the lobby, and the woman 
shrank past him along the wall ; whence, following still 
without a word, he motioned her along the passage 
down the stairs, flight after flight, to the lower hall • 
where he opened the front door, drove her out into the 
night, and stood waiting on the doorstep until she was 
swallowed up in the haze of the street lamps. Then 
relieved in his heart, he went back to the hall on the 
roof. 

Straight had just finished speaking; another member 

was commending the brethren to renewed vigilance 

renewed caution, renewed secrecy. Bowing to Father 

Jared, Brand went to Straigh^ and bent over him. 

Lome out, he whispered, " I want you on business." 



i)i| 



IS2 THE DRAWING OF THE SWORD 

Straight followed to Brand's room, and asked, cheer- 
fully, why his friend was so solemn. 

" I suppose," said Brand, " that I ought to congratu- 
late you on the sinking of the Tsar, the Caliph, the 
Maharajah, the St. Elias, and this Giant liner; the 
killing of a few thousand people, the bankruptcy of the 
King Line, the ruin of the British transatlantic trade." 

" As you please," said Straight, who was, if anything, 
cooler than usual. 

" I've taken twenty-four hours before I could bring 
."nyself to speak with such a thing as you. I still feel 
sick. Don't you think that you had better stop these 
murders ? " 

" At your suggestion ? " Straight took a cigarette from 
his case and lighted it. 

" Yes — at my suggestion." 

Straight sat down in Brand's easy-chair, crossing his 
legs. 

"And why?" 

" Because," said Brand, with a hot light in his eyes," I 
have found out what all these idiotic experts have failed 
to see." 

" Very obliging, I'm sure, to take such an interest" 

" I guess," was the retort, " the British Government 
will be interested too." 

" Dear me, what a waste of postage ; you'd better 
address the moon, or the signs of the zodiac." 

" You're counting on the delay of the mails," said 
Brand, angrily. "I'll cable." 

" Most of them cable. It's a standing joke at West- 
minster." 

"Straight," he cried, "are you made of steel?" 

"Yes." Straight smiled. "They're taking out a 
patent," he pointed with his thin forefinger, " up yonder. 
I'm a sample; and the steel-made man will meet a 



THE DRAWING OF THE SWORD 153 

long-felt want. But. seriously, Brand, there's no need 
to set yourself in an uproar. We have stopped the 

massacres— for the present. Now, Brand " 

" Mr. Haraldson, if you please." 
Straight gave vent to a weary little sigh. 
" Well, Mister Haraldson, take my advice. Correspond 
as much as you please with the British Government ; but 
if you value your life, don't talk in this city. You see, 
people disappear, their friends miss them, the Mulberry 
Street officers are sympathetic, the newspapers put in a 
two.inch'par.,'and a few weeks afterwards the harbour 
police, or some fisherman, find something— that has to 
be covered up. Remember, as you have pointed out, we 
are no longer friends ; so if you mention what you have 
said to anybody else, I cannot be responsible for your 
safety." 

"I shall do as I please," said Brand. "Good- 
evening." 

Even now it pained him to look at Straight's face, so 
wan was it— so terribly sad. There seemed a little more 
grey in his hair than usual ; the lines about his mouth 
were deepened, as though from suffering. 

" One moment, Mr. Haraldson." Straight rose, throw- 
ing away the stump of his cigarette. "This discovery 
has been a severe shock to you, for which I am very 
sorry. Since it's just possible that you have made a 
mistake, even now you had better reserve your judgment 
Soon— very soon, I hope— we shall resume our acquaint- 
ance under new conditions, your eyes will be opened 
and we shall be allies in the cause that is dearest to 
your heart May I remind you of a former meeting, 
when I had the honour to warn you of dangers sur- 
rounding a certain lady? You do not yet realize her 
peril!" 
" What do you mean, sir i " 



154 THE DRAWING OF THE SWORD 

" She is engaged to many Marshall Gault within six 
months." 

Brand turned white as a ghost " To marry— Marshall 
Gault ? Well, what of that ? I f she is pleased to marry, 
she has the right." 

" She is not pleased to marry, but compelled." 

« Compelled I" 

"She has sacrificed her life because she was penniless, 
and all her good work ruined otherwise. She has been 
sold — the price was the welfare of her poor, her sick, 
her little children in the criche, the dying in God's 
Hostelry. 

" And one last word, Mr. Haraldson. You are fight- 
ing Rex Clewston. Take caret From what little I 
know of him — the most powerful, the most unscrupulous 
man in the New World — it was scarcely wise to tempt 
him with an open challenge. He may have had spies 
within hearing for all I know. Though he is crowded 
ofT the narrow sidewalk of honesty, he walks, when he 
can, in the broad highway of Law — economical of crime, 
sparing of slaughter, because it does not pay. But if 
your enquiries inconvenience him, he may, in a fit of 
irritation, brush you aside. That is all I have to say- 
take care!" 



CHAPTER XX 

THE dragon's shadow 

The frwhness of the summer was all gone, the roses 
were dead not one shower fell to save the witherine 
grass, to refresh the dusty trees, and clear the air of its 
impurities. The poor were suffocating in their tene- 
ments, or spending the weary, feverish nighta upon their 
house-roofs ; the business men had taken long ago to 
men cloAes, palm-leaf fans, ice-cream, soda, anything 
that could mitigate the sweltering heat of the city • the 
nch had fled to the seaside, where they wasted the' use- 
less hours after their kind. Hundreds of old women 
and old men were dropping off their perches for lack 
of air. 

From the time when the engagement was made public 
between Miss Hilda and Mr. Gault, a forlorn dignity kept 
Brand aloof. Of course the philanthropist was a better 
man than himself, with means to finance the lady's in- 
judicious heaven-blessed charities, but no woman in her 
«!nses would marry Gault for love-one does not wed a 
Public Institutioa 

Father Jared, who knew everything, and didn't believe 
m keeping cats in bags, almost admitted that Miss 
Hildas engagement was not to the man she loved, but 
being pressed, could "say no more without committine 
a breach of confidence." 

One by one the few stars in Brand's heaven had been 
'5S 



IS6 



THE DRAGON'S SHADOW 



eclipsed. He had no hero-wonhip left for the philan- 
thropist who let Clewston live. Knowing the black 
guilt of the Liberators, Brand saw no creature on earth 
so vile as Richard Straight, their secretary, who posed 
a* a Reformer. It was in defiance of all reason that in 
his good nature he still trusted Giggleswick, who was 
Clewston's jackal. Soured by loss of all he really cared 
for in the world, he saw the aged and heroic priest as 
nothing better than a mischief-making gossip. 

" I think. Brand," the Father explained, " that all of 
us try to be good, and would succeed if it were not so 
difficult. Those of us who meet the fewest sinners are 
perhaps the hardest judges, but God knows every sinner, 
and pardons all." 

A new atmosphere of treachery compelled, in Brand, 
the latent qualities of caution and secrecy. His even- 
ing walks had a purpose now— search for the Irish sailor 
who belonged to the wrecking-gang of the Liberators. 
His office work, his reading at night, his growing habit 
of observation, were making him an expert criminolo- 
gist At the Colonel's request he had indulged in a 
telephone for his bedroom, so as to be able to communi- 
cate with the old gentleman's office in Broadway. At 
the Safe Deposit he had a strong box filling rapidly 
with memoranda likely to be of use, together with the 
unopened documents from the Detective Bureau, lately 
obtained through the Colonel ; the deeds of his property, 
the Colonel's will, and other matters too valuable to be 
left at Clewston's mercy. He posted his letters himself, 
and, lest the replies should be tampered with, rented a 
box at the General Post-office. If he went out on 
business, Clewston's spies found Brand a difficult subject 
to shadow. Knowing well the danger of his enquiries, 
he left with the lawyers papers to be published in the 
event of his death, which made it inexpedient to remove 



THE DRAGON'S SHADOW 157 

him. HI. blur., cordial boyishness of manner was 
only a mask now to hide the strong passions of his 
manhood. 

He had found the old man in his bare whitewashed 
room, pormgr over some ancient book by lamp-light. but 
glad to put his reading aside. f k , uui 

" I'm beaten," said Brand ; " I'm thrashed. I trusted 
Gault, and he sides with the Liberators; I trusted 
Straight, the treacherous cur ; I even trusted Giegles- 
wick a little." *"" 

Then it seemed to the priest, who was very old and 
wise, that all this was for the testing of manhood 

"So far" said Brand, "I've proved that Clewston 
wrecked that train, that Clewston wrecked the ships 
that he sent Michael Gault to his grave, that he reduced 
Michael Gault's daughter almost to beggary, that he 
threw her into the arms of a man she hates. Now. I've 
her honour and her life to guard, I'm pledged to smash 
Clewston, and when I've saved Miss Gault she shall 
marry the man she likes, whoever he is." 

" It all seems incredible, fantastic." The priest looked 
dreamily at the crucilix opposite, and for a minute his 
lips moved as though he were speaking. 

"It is not incredible," said Brand, "that Clewston's a 
blackguard, it's something more than fantasy that Miss 
Gault is in trouble. What I want is to find out the 
names of the men who care for her— union is strength." 
" I, for one, will gladly serve," the priest chuckled, " in 
Miss Hilda's body-guard, but, as for the others who care 
for her, I have no right to betray her secrets— at least 
until I gain permission. She was with me to-day in 
bitter trouble, far worse than yours. Brand, although she 
bears it so bravely. Last night I dreamed of her in 
Clewston s power, the dragon's silent, treacherous coils 
wmding slowly about her-and you her deliverer a 



4 



ist 



THE DRAGON'S SHADOW 



latter-day St George. And yet the dragon leemi to 
have no motive." 

"The motive," laid Brand, "is malcing money on 
'Change by speculating in human blood." 

"Then why," asked the priest, " should he atUck this 
lady?" 

" Do you doubt the fact ? " 

" If it is a fact. Brand, you are in horrible danger." 

For some minutes Brand sat brooding over the 
Father's words ; then he was awakened from his reverie 
by the persistent ringing of an electric bell. 

" What's that ? " he cried abrupt!/. " Listen I " 

" I hear nothing." 

The bell was still ringing. "It must be my tele- 
phone," said Brand. " I got one for the Colonel's sake, 
so that in case Clewston attacked him he could ring me 
up. And that's the bell I" 



CHAPTER XXI 

FIRST BLOOD 

Brand ran to his room across the passam, clos-d •!, ■ 
door, gave the answering signal at his telephon'.. nut 
the receiver to his ear. 

"Is that you, Colonel?" 

* Ves, I'm Colonel GiRgleswick. I want you " 
iJ.HJ!'^ "rious-a secret signal had been arranged 
between them, so that strangers might be within hearing 
at either end of the line, yet not understand what wm 
WttS s&io> 

I What's that ? " said Brand. " Speak louder." 
Come quick. Brand, I'm in danger." This was not 
tne Colonel s manner of speaking. 

■^ Louder ! " said Brand. " I can't hear." 

"I tell you I'm in danger; come quick I " 

This was not the Colonel's voice. 

" All right ! " answered Brand. " Keep your hair on 
I'm coming. Where are you ? " ' 

"Come here, to my office." was the reply, but Br^.nd 
knew that the real Colonel, his clerks being women 
would have described the place as a hen-roost. 

Brand glanced at his watch, and saw that it was just 
eleven oclock. ■• 

"All right I Coming." 

Brand hung the receiver in its place, went to his desk, 

pocKet. Then he returned to Father Jared's room. 
159 



i6o FIRST BLOOD 

"Say, Father," he said, "are you very tired? No? 
Can you come with me in a cab to the Colonel's office? 
Thank you, sir— I'll show you some fun." 

"What kind of fun ? " said the priest " I'm an old 
man for rough kinds of fun." 

"Yes, sir, but I've found out that the little cross you 
wear is only given for valour ; and I want a reliable 
witness whatever happens." 

There was a keen light in the old man's eyes, he stood 
up and took his hat from a peg. 

"So there's going to be a little excitement? Dear 
me, to think how lazy I'm getting ; quite a tame little 
old man, eh, who hasn't seen anything excitmg for 
years and years. Come along. Brand, don't keep 

me waiting." , ,. ■ ■ 

Brand ran down to the Avenue and found a taxi, m 
which he and Father Jared drove to the Safe Deposit 
building on Broadway. Up-stairs, in the offices of the 
Alarm Syndicate, sat Colonel Giggleswick all alone, 
smoking busily over a great pretence of correspondence. 

" Glad to see you. Most reverend sir, I am proud. 

"Well, Colonel "—Brand was helping the priest to 
take off his coat—" what's the matter with you ? " ^^ 

» Matter, young man ; matter is dirt out of place.' 

Brand shut the door. "Then why did you ring me 
up?" 

" I — ring you up ? " 

Brand and the priest exchanged glances. 

"However"- the Colonel was jubilant— " I reckon 
that as an ill wind has blown somebody good, and 
I'm that somebody, let's lubricate." 

" With all my heart," said Brand. 

But, as Father Jared seemed hardly to understand, 
the Colonel explained the nature of "lubrication" by 
taking a bottle and glasses out of a cupboard in his 



FIRST BLOOD 



i6i 



desk. « Reverend sir, this dew was collected on the 
Grampians. I hope that you do not look with disfavour 
upon the Dew of Grampians ? " 

The priest bowed. " I am too old a campaigner," he 
said, " to object to dew." 

" Nature has ordained "—the Colonel was busy placing 
the ingredients on his desk— "that it should be taken 
with a little lemon, some sugar, and water discreetly 
blended. You light that oil stove. Brand, and fill the 
saucepan. This prescription should always be taken 
warm." 

There was a little oil stove on the floor in front of 
the "register," so Brand drew up his chair within easy 
reach, opened it, turned up the wick, and taking a 
match from his breeches pocket, struck it, and bent 
down, shading the light with his hands. The match 
went out before it reached the wick, so he struck a 
second, which also went out. The others, looking on, 
were amused at his awkwardness, as, considerably 
nettled, he struck a third match. This he assured him- 
self was burning well ; his hands protected the flame 
from any possible draught, and yet scarcely had he 
lowered it to the level of his kneej when the light burned 
low and expired. 

" If I didn't feel so drowsy," the priest yawned, " I 
should go to the child's assistance." 

" If I were in the mines " The Colonel assumed 

that manner of instruction which foreboded a yarn. 

" I've been in the mines too," Brand interrupted 
vindictively, "and," he struck another match, which 
expired tt a level with his knees, " if I were in the mines 
now I should call this choke-damp." 

The priest, lying low in his chair, yawned drowsily. 

"Carbon dioxyde," said the Colonel, "can be tested. 
It combines with lime, the net result of which is chalk. 

M 



l63 



FIRST BLOOD 



1 have some lime water here "—he took a bottle from a 
shelf beside him—" I use it medicinally." Pouring some 
into a tumbler, he placed it on the floor, drawing down 
the electric desk light to see more plainly. The water 
had become turbid like milk. " How did choke-damp 
get into this room ? " he pondered. " It always lies low 
as it can, being heavy ; you can't see it, or feel it, or 
smell it. It isn't exactly poisonous ; but if you take a 
full breath of the stuff, out you go like a match- happy 
hunting-grounds for one. Unless we had thought of 
punch, unless we had tried to light a stove on the floor, 
we should have died without being any the wiser. 
Lemons, sugar, bland electric light, three dead bodies, 
and the whiskey untasted ! The situation is chock full of 
pathos." 

" Shut up," said Brand ; open the windows, you old 
fool. Hello, Father Jared ! Father Jared ! " 

The priest had fallen asleep. 

" Wake up — wake up ! " Brand shook him violently, 
then lifting him up, chair and all, on top of the table, 
well beyond reach of the gas, with some trouble he 
restored the old man to consciousness. 

" Why," said Colonel Giggleswick, struggling with the 
windows, "what's the matter with this confounded 
sash?" 

The window could not be moved. 

" Huh ! " he sniffed disdainfully, " I smell Clewston. 
Let's see— how has Clewston poured the gas into 
this " 

" Shut up," said Brand. " And turn off the register." 

The Colonel went hurriedly to the register used in 
winter for ventilating the office with hot air, turned off 
the tap, and, in bending down, was well-nigh suffocated. 

Meanwhile, Brand had Uken up the oil stove, which 
he placed on the table and lighted. 



FIRST BLOOD 



i«3 



"It will be a warning," he said, "if this goes out 
Now, how shall we get help ? Colonel, ring up your 
Alarm doctor. 

"That's all very well"— the Colonel, flurried and 
anxious, was testing the signals—" but the wires ure 
cut." 

Brand tried the door, which would not open, then he 
put his shoulder to it, and smashed the lock. 
" I think," he said, "we'd better clear out of this." 
Neither the Colonel nor Father Jared dissenting, the 
three moved cautiously to the stairhead. Somebody 
had turned out all the lights ; here and there, while they 
hstened, there seemed to be men breathing, and the air 
felt alive with danger. 

" I'm going back," said the Colonel, "that whiskey " 

"Stop!" cried Father Jared, too late to withhold 
Colonel Giggleswick. That greedy old fool had just 
regained the door of his office when something stirred 
in the darkness— there was a struggle, a heavy fall, and 
the presence of a man running for the upper stairs. 

Rushing along the passage, Brand came upon Colonel 
Giggleswick lying insensible. He lifted him breast-high 
for fear of the outflow of gas. 
" Is he dead ? " whispered the priest. 
" Don't know. Here take his revolver ; I have mine. 
Well have to risk gas on the stairs. Are you ready 
sir?" •" 

Brand took up the Colonel in his arms, and, carrying 
him, followed the priest down the stairways until they 
gained the street door. 

" I think," said Father Jared, " we'll take him home." 



.11 

m 



m 



CHAPTER XXII 

'THE BLADE OF THE SWORD' 

" The blade of the sword alone is no longer suffi^ent, he must have 
the cross welded to it for a handle."-NORDAU. 

That Brand had courage is not especially praise- 
worthy, because a man of his strength, stature, and 
health has no right whatever to be a coward. That he 
had behaved like a gentleman is not especially praise- 
worthy, because no man has a right to be a cad. That 
he was modest is not especially praiseworthy, because a 
man of superb physical beauty Las no need of any sus- 
taining vanity. That he did not now go headlong to 
the devil, is very much indeed to his credit. So long as 
things go well, a man has no special occasion to be bad, 
but when everything goes wrong, there are passions and 
desires turned loose which prey upon his vitals like 
fiends. Every healthy man has superfluous energies 
devised by Nature to get him into mischief; to keep 
him within the bounds of reason he must be amused ; 
and when he happens to be in torment the usual toys 
are impatiently cast aside. A little boy who has tooth- 
ache is not to be charmed with even the largest tin 
soldiers ; to keep him interested he must be taken to 
call on the dentist, and even before he sees the brass- 
pUte on the front-door, the pain will mysteriously 
vanish A big man with a broken heart cannot be 
patched up with a box of cigars and a new necktie, but 
164 



'THE BLADE OF THE SWORD' 



i6s 



must needs be given excitement, or his misdirected 
energies will bring him to rack and ruin. In those days 
of his trouble Brand could not work, he would not eat, 
nothing short of morphia procured him an hour of sleep. 
The Club was intolerable, for there lay Colonel Giggles- 
wick, in Father Jared's room, raving. Neither had he 
satisfaction from any silent serenading of Miss Hilda's 
tenement, because she, poor soul, was away at her baby- 
farm near Niagara. Had he known that she loved him, 
Brand might have passed the time tolerably wretched ; 
but he did not know that she loved him. 

Under the like circumstances, a Latin develops a 
taste for homicide, a Saxon for getting drunk. Very 
good and respectable folk, who suffer no temptations, 
have little sympathy with the poor wretch who is driven, 
by despair, into a mania for letting blood, still less 
sympathy for the brute who makes a beast of himself 
with liquor. They wonder vaguely what satisfaction 
there is in drunkenness ; they never tried the sensation, 
knowing nothing, perhaps, of the ceaseless craving for 
excitement, the urgent necessity for letting off steam at 
all hazards. The disgusting fact remains that Brand 
got drunk, and would have done so again and again, 
but that his astonished and horrified inside commenced 
a policy of revenge, of forcible retaliation conducive to 
penitence. Besides that, a feeling that Miss Hilda 
would be displeased, led his thoughts into safer channels, 
so the mania for excitement was satisfied in other and 
wiser ways. Brand challenged privately a well-known 
English bruiser, the Battersea Chicken, after which 
encounter he realized that getting drunk is very bad for 
an athlete, repented in bitter humiliation, and went in 
for a severe course of training. Boxing, riding, swim- 
ming, sculling, running, a lean diet, and a sore conscience, 
did more for him now than the distractions of the public 



i66 'THE BLADE OF THE SWORD' 

bar-rooms. It is only by losing one's way that one 
learns the comfortable satisfaction of keeping straight 

Though Brand had lost his friends he still had 
acquaintances, who, to confess the plain truth, tka«i(ht 
him rather an ass. Writing pungent articles had failed 
to train him in small talk, he was too self-contained for 
jesting, too slow of thought to butter his ideas over the 
thin bread of discourse. When litt;r people tried to 
chaff him, to disturb this great calm self-reliance 1» 
would smile gently, looking far away over their eyes as 
though they were not present ; if this angered them to 
rudeness they got their heads punched, with an apology 
afterwards. This gentlest and best-tempered of men 
was never roused beyond a momentary irritation, but 
anybody who provoked him once would ever afterwards 
behave with distant caution. 

When nis acquaintances were in trouble he would 
lend money with lavish credulity, but when they tried 
to make friends on the strength of their gratitude they 
found it like flirting with a monument. Very few men 
and only one woman were ever allowed to suspect the 
tremendous passions blazing behind the mask — his love, 
his desperate craving for excitement, his never slumber- 
ing ambition to wage war against the evils of the age. 

Yet, as a big dog will sometimes make friends with a 
very little dog. Brand became fond of Jimmy, night 
editor of the Avenger. Once, in the small hours of the 
morning, he found a pocket edition of a man defending 
himself very pluckily against a drunken bully who had 
jostled him in Broadway. Brand wiped up the pave- 
ment with the bully, introduced himself to the small man, 
and, as they were both bound southward, walked with 
him to the office, discovering on the way that they were 
colleagues on the staff of the Avenger. It was Jimmy's 
duty to take charge of the Editorial Department from 



'THE BLADE OF THE SWORD' 167 

two o'clock in the morning, when the staff began to 
disperse, until noon, when they began to reassemble ; 
and during the lonely watches that little journalist was 
very glad of human company. Often after that first 
meeting Brand would sit on the editorial table wishing 
earnestly for the sleep that would not come ; Jimmy, 
perched on the official chair, would play his guitar, 
singing sorrowful love songs until, like David before 
Saul, this minstrelsy brought a sense of rest, a quietude, 
a yawn or two, then the big man's retirement to a sofa, 
where he would snore like an ocean liner in a fog. 

But one night, six weeks after the time of his dis- 
missal by Miss Gault, when Brand began to realize 
some pleasure in life, when the Colonel was at last 
pronounced convalescent, the little Editor discovered 
that the dark cloud was passing away, that a better hour 
was coming for his friend. So in his joy the minstrel 
struck up a more dismal ballad than usual, for his was a 
temperament which luxuriates in a .sense of wretched- 
ness, and loves the clouds of life, for the contrast of their 
silver lining. 

" Went my love this way .' 
Here is her track in the snow ; 
My dainty love went heedlessly. 
She trod this down quite needlessly. 
Here was my life laid low: 
My heart was in her way. 

Went my love alone? 
Nay, for one walked by her side. 
My dainty love went lightly by, 
My dainty love went merrily : 
Here where the path is wide, 
And I am all alone." 

And having sung the hopeless little ballad, Jimmy 
laid down his guitar with a sigh. 
" Have you got it bad ? " asked Brand, compassionately. 
" Love ? I was never in love in my life." 



i68 'THE BLADE OF THE SWORD' 

Brand sighed. 

" Only," continued Jinimy, " I feel that way sometimes." 

"So do I," said Brand. 

The little man looked wistfully up at the big man's 
face. " Who is Jimmy," he said, " that he should fall in 
love— Jimmy, with two sisters to ceep comfortable on 
nothing and a-half a month? Supiose I fell in love 
with a woman, suppose she took r « ly surprise and 
married me, what on earth shor.i J 1 do with her, eh ? 
I couldn't put her out to grass, or .;nd her to a museum, 
or send her to a home for lost dogs. And one of my 
sisters is very ill," said Jimmy piteously. " While she 
lives the doctor's bill runs on quite smoothly, and the 
grocery man appreciates my poems. But if she dies I 
shall have to pay the doctor and the grocery man, and 
the Reformed Funeral man will have nothing to say to 
a minor poet. They'll all want cash I Besides," Jimmy 
was strumming gently on the guitar, " if I fell in love 
she would sleep all night, and I must sleep all day— a 
sort of Box and Cox arrangement. A night editor is 
not masculine or feminine, but a mere //, with two sisters 
and a taste for writing bad poetry. Now, if I were an 
hulking blackguard like you " 

" You'd wish yourself a Jimmy again," said Brand. 

"But it seems impossible tlkkt anybody so big and 
strong " 

" Should be tied by the leg with a beastly chain," 
growled Brand. 

" But— what is the chain ? I hope you don't mind my 
asking." 

" A chain of cold facts, Jimmy, cold, hard facts." 

" Then break it." 

" I don't know how— I'm in love — the lady won't have 
me — engaged to another man, and loves somebody else." 
Brand got off the table, yawned, stretched himself, took 



'THE BLADE OF THE SWORD' ,69 



up his hat and stick. " It' 
" I'm going home to bed.' 
Brand 



's no use Ulking," he said. 
— . „d walked homeward through the silent 

Cham of his trouble was at a breaking strain. Not that 

ll?1^ T "'"' ''* ^"^ "P°" the eve of some 

great change. There is no introspection in giants, or 
se f-consciousness in men of tremendous strength. Brknd 

MoIt^T ''°"«''*= "^^' ^""^^'^ ''"-'f by 
A , Mn L^. T'T ^''y^'"' ''"'"'"K had brought 
Js thmg about, that he was ready when the momfnt 

came for action-readier than ever he had been; and 
even m his worst hours he had scarcely relaxed his 
struggle with immense difficulties. While Father Tared 
was harsh with him, disappointed because Brand seemed 
to have abandoned his ambition to unmask and over- 
ZT P*"' ^^r'^""' the priest little knew of the work 
being done in secret, the untiring vigilance which was 
slowly piecing together such scanty information as could 
De had. Brand had picked up a young Belfast emigrant, 
ha f-starv^d in the streets, won his gratitude by timely 
help, set lam to worm his way into the fraternity of the 
Liberators ; and now he was privy to the alTairs of the 
outer circles lie had answered the advertisement of a 
disengaged detective, late of Scotland Yard, brought 
to r • "r^"'"'";^"'' ^^' "''"S the man's services 
wom^ .^^'•"'''T' 'P''"'- "•= '■"""'^ the sniffing 
woman-the incendiary-now discharged from spying 
n Clewston s interest, and sent her away into the country 
that she might enjoy a holiday away from her " 'usbine " 
until he had need of her. But all this helped him little 

an i!!-!!"/^^'"''* "!" ^'■*^'' adversary; indeed, it was 
an incident apparently quite foreign to the quest that 
led at last to the issue of this adv^enture. 



CHAPTER XXIII 



THE FIRST REVELATION 

■' I DEEM he is not worthy to live at all who, for any 
fear or danger of death, shunneth his country's service, 
and his own honour." So read Father Jared from a 
book, and paused to ponder over the words, with his 
eyes shining upon Haraldson. The priest was sitting 
by the Colonel's bedside, and had been reading for hours 
that he might lull ais convalescent patient to sleep, 
while Brand leaned against the window, listening. 

" Sir," said the Colonel, feebly oracular, " the man who 
wrote them words had ought to have been an American." 

" I guess," retorted Brand, scornfully, " that we have 
orators who'd strain their necks if they talked down to 
the European level of thought." 

" But," the priest spoke in sorrow, " they may yet 
shun their country's service and their own honour. Sir 
Humphrey Gilbert wanted, for England's sake, to find 
the North-west passage to the Indies ; he wrote this 
essay; then, to prove his doctrine true, victualled a 
little squadron, and sailed into unksw.wn seas. One of 
his ships, a mere fishing smack of ten tons bu.den, 
leaked : so, to hearten her crew, he joined them. There 
was a great gale ; the smack wai perishing ; the larger 
flagship came within call, fearing for the Admiral's 
Mfrtv. Her oeoole saw Gilbert sitting in the after- 
)le outspread on his knees. ' Never 



part ' 



ship, 



170 



THE FIRST REVELATION 



171 



fear, my masters,' he called to them. ' Heaven is as 
near by water as by land.' Heaven was nearer to the 
gallant gentleman who died that night for his country's 
service and his own stainless honour." 

" And I," said Urand, 'jittcrly, " ain't worthy even to 
die." 

" It is six weeks to-day ," retorted the priest, " since 
you crossed swords with the enemy." 

Brand had long been conscious of some mystery in 
connection with the Avenger building. He had, as 
described above, arrived one morning, unlocked his 
office door, and found Mr. Gault within, overhauling his 
papers. Upbraiding the " elevator boy " for not warning 
him, he had discovered that neither in the lift nor on the 
stairs had Mr. Gault been seen that day. lirand put a 
private lock on the door ; yet, scarcely a month later, 
the same thing happened again. 

Moreover, this was but part of the puzzle. Late in 
the autumn, he found one morning, on his desk, a pencil 
which bore the unmistakable whittled marks which 
Dick Straight used to cut in idle moments. That pencil 
could only have come from Straight's room. 

Then Brand remembered how once, in that office of 
the Cyclone Explosives, he had frightened Larry Byrne 
until he screamed. Presently, Straight had come out of 
the manager's room, claiming to have been in certain 
offices beyond. And yet there was visibly no second 
door to the manager's room. Straight had not heard 
the scream, of that Brand was certain. Was there then 
some secret access to the room ? 

Now Brand, beginning to put the puzzle together, 
found that, two floors above his office was Gault's private 
sanctum, and immediately below, on the eighth storey, 
the manager's office of the Cyclone Explosives Syn- 



! I 



% 



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172 



THE FIRST REVELATION 



dicate. Between these three rooms there must be a 
secret way. Chimneys were out of the question, but in 
that side of the building rose a ventilator shaft, by which 
air was obtained for the hot blast, which, circulating 
through the rooms and corridors, kept the place warm 
in winter. 

Brand fell to examining his pigeon-hole library, 
directly behind which was the wall of that brickwork 
shaft For hours, after his day's work was over, he 
remained locked up in his office, feeling every inch of 
the woodwork, until, at eight o'clock in the evening, his 
patience was rewarded by the discovery of the neatly 
varnished button, pretending to be a knot, in the side of 
a pigeon-hole. When he pressed that spring, a whole 
section of the library swung gently out like a door, 
revealing the open void of the great shaft, wherein two 
steel cables went down out of sight into thick darkness. 

He began pulling upon one of these cables, which 
yielded a little, then upon the other, which also moved 
freely, yet in absolute silence. Both were evidently 
parts of one line depending from a wheel ; so, doubt- 
less, at the lower ends there were weighted platforms, 
each adjusted to carry a man, who could raise or lower 
himself by controlling the free end of the cable. De- 
termined to find out the whole of this secret, Brand 
withdrew the key from the office door, so that if he 
should need he could enter again from the corridor; 
also he assured himself of being able to re-enter his 
room from the shaft. Then he made fast the lighted 
candle to the brim of his felt hat, turned out the 
office light, and, stepping on to the narrow platform 
overhanging the shaft, he closed the door behind 
him. 

First, he explored upwards, drawing both lines together, 
and climbing as upon a single rope, until he saw, dimly. 



THE FIRST REVELATION 



J73 



a wheel, from which they depended, and alighted upon a 
httle platform, such as the one he had left. From this, 
through a small hole in a panel, he could peer into 
Gault's withdrawing-room on the sixteenth floor. Again, 
he cautiously committed himself to the wires, this time 
clinging with his knees and one elbow, while he kid 
hold of the right-hand line to govern his movements. 
Thus, very slowly, he descended into the abyss, soiling 
his hands and clothes with the dry blacklead which 
served instead of oil to lubricate them, fearing only 
lest the smooth mineral now encrusting his skin 
should cause his hold to slip, and plunge him to 
instant destruction. 

Fifty feet below the level of his office Brand swung 
himself on to a third platform similar to the others, 
but on the opposite side of the shaft. The cables 
swung back to the perpendicular, where they hung 
vibrating noiselessly, while the man fell to examining 
the recess in which he stood, not connected with the 
Avenger building at all, but with the Frailty Investi- 
gation Offices, occupied by Dr. Clewston. On either 
side were wall ends of plain brick, but the back was 
of fine white canvas, and at the bottom of it he found 
a leather strap, evidently a handle. Stooping down, he 
pulled at the strap, lifted it, and the panel with it, to 
the height of his own head, whereby he discovered that 
he was standing within a picture-frame. Before him 
was a large room, dimly lighted with a single heavily- 
shaded reading lamp. On the right were heavy window 
curtains, directly in front a door; and on the left an 
open portiere. The carpet was soft, and sombre in 
colour; the furniture massive, the ceiling painted; the 
whole place dim, gloomy, and magnificent. But to all 
this Brand paid little attention, because his gaze was 
fixed upon a man who sat at the writing-table, the 



In 



ii 



174 



THE FIRST REVELATION 



lamplight shining upon his silvery beard, the face 
hidden by an eye-shade, such as people wear who 
are nearly blind. Somehow, the master-detective and 
his surroundings conveyed to Brand a strong sense of 
the unreal — the theatrical — perhaps, the ultra-human. 
And this was Dr. Rex Clewston ? Brand could see the 
name painted on the safe yonder in golden characters ; 
this was Dr. Rex Clewston looking up, startled by the 
sudden intrusion, rising from his seat with a sharp 
exclamation. 

" Well, sir ! " Brand wondered vaguely where he had 
heard that deep resonant voice ; then, with an astonish- 
ment akin to terror, saw the whole man change from a 
bearing of alert strength to one of extreme old age. 
" What the devil do you mean, sir, by this intrusion ? " 
The voice had become harsh. " How dare you trespass 
here?" 

For a moment Brand felt his veins like ice, a cold 
sweat broke out upon his face, everything swam dark 
before his eyes ; then his brain cleared, he became hot 
with rage, and with a yell of fury leapt into the room. 

" Who are you, Dr. Rex Clewston ? I want to 
know who you are — I've come to see you — the real 
Clewston — without your damned theatrical properties 
and overdone acting, you devil ! " 

Rushing at his enemy, he seized him by the beard, 
but that came away in his hand, and he flung it aside. 
Again, while Clewston stumbled back against the chair. 
Brand sprang forward, wrenching away the eye-shade 
from his brows. 

But the face he had unmasked, transfigured with 
rage, was so awful that Brand shrank away, reeling 
back towards the frame through which he had entered 
— knowing Dr. Clewston at last 1 

Brand clutched at the sides of the frame lest he 



THE FIRST REVELATION 175 

should fall, because Clewston's face seemed to burn— 
incarnate murder-red in a glare of flames, while all 
the world reeled like a blazing wheel. 

Again he seemed to behold a flaming brand hang 
threatening above him, as though it would crash down 
upon his head. 
" Murderer I " he yelled. " Murderer ! " 
Yet even as he watched him the face of the train- 
wrecker resolved itself into the icy-cold mask of 
Marshall Gault, whose hand was raised, not threaten- 
ing, but to warn, while a clear incisive voice ordered 
him to be silent. 

His brain was overwrought, he fe't as though he 
were gomg mad; he knew that unless controlled 
himself he was in fearful peril; so hi compelled him- 
self to withdraw his gaze from r,,ult, h.'s eyes wandering 
vaguely down to something th 3 enemy had snatched 
from the table. It was a gi. :, Hilda's glove, that 
Brand once stole from her, that the Colonel had thrown 
aside when he came as a robber, that had since disap- 
peared. Marshall Gault had the glove, and Hilda was 
at his mercy ! 

So this was Hilda's danger of which Brand had been 
warned on the day of his coming to New York, this 
the origin of her financial ruin, this the secret of her 
engagement to a man she did not love, this the draeon 
of Father Jared's dream ! 

"Not dragons mythical but actual," he had cried 
"bred of a foul corruption. . . . What man is there 
living to-day who will face the devil's viceroy. Dr. 
Rex Clewston . . . who will encounter this dragon to 
deliver the city from his power?" 
Then about Hilda he had said : 
"There is some fearful mystery— and when that is 
cleared away we shall see how to fight." 



11 



1/6 



THE FIRST REVELATION 



And of this man he had said : 

"A man with brains enough to understand Czsar, 
could have mastered Csesar." 

Brand looked at his adversary, knowing him body 
and soul, forecasting his motives, foreseeing his actions 
— this almost superhuman genius who posed and posed 
like an actor. The air was clearing now I 

" Good evening, Mr. Haraldson ! " Mr. Gault seemed 
to purr like a cat — or a jaguar. " This visit is an un- 
expected honour. Come, pull down the picture, for 
there's a cold draught." 

Brand pulled down the canvas by its strap, seeing 
now that the painting he had displaced for his entrance 
was an enormous figure of Justice. 

He turned to Mr. Gault. 

" You devil, how dare you sit face to face with that 
great angel 1 Aren't you afraid of his sword ? " 

"That," said Mr. Gault, calmly, "is for spies. But 
come, I don't care to argue vith you ; sit down, Mr. 
Haraldson. Will you accept a cigar ? I have business 
with you." 

Brand roughly pushed aside the box that was tendered 
to him, then changed his mind and took a cigar. Mr. 
Gault did the same. " Let us," said Brand, " exchange 
cigars." The insinuation of foul play was insulting, but 
Mr. Gault laughed. 

" With all my heart." 

Brand struck a match, but threw it down without 
using it. His adversary lighted up, and began to smoke. 
Having recovered from the first shock of his astonish- 
ment. Brand had made up his mind to learn all he could, 
to say no more than was necessary. Despite his rage 
he was conscious of admiration for a cool courageous 
enemy. It never occurred to him that he ought to kill 
a man only half his size. 



THE FIRST REVELATION x-jj 

" Mr. Haraldson, wb i you first came to New York I 
made a grave raistakf I laughed at you when I should 
have got rid of you." 

Brand growled. 

"Now, your cautiousness in bringing a witness when 
you rescued the Colonel, your wisdom in removing that 
firebug woman your discretion in employing detectives 
from the Old World, your acumen in leaving with your 
solicitors papers which for some months have made it 
inexpedient to attack you-all this compels me to take 
your absurdities quite seriously. I may mention, how- 
ever, that I now control both your detectives, and these" 
—Mr. Gault produced some papers from a drawer— 
"are the documents which you left with your lawyers 
I can now remove you without further trouble, indeed 
my arrangements will be complete in half-an-hour. 
Meanwhile, let me make what are probably your last 
moments on earth as pleasant as possible." 

He went to a sideboard, from which he produced 
tumblers and a bottle of champagne, set these on the 
wming-table, opened the bottle, filled both glass.-s, and 
ottered Brand his choice. 

" Thanks," Brand growled, " which you like." 

Mr Gault smiled, and took up one of the glasses. 

'May the next world be more acceptable to you!" 
he drank. ' 

To which toast Brand responded with a harsh laugh, 
before proposing another. 

" To your destruction I " 

"And now, Mr. Haraldson, may I ask why you are 
trying to destroy me ? " 

" Firstly," replied Brand, "because you're a parricide. 
Vour train-wrecking was clumsy, but the shock killed 
Michael Gault, the man who had raised you from the 
gutter. 



178 THE FIRST REVELATION 

" And secondly ? " 

" Because you're trying to force Miss Gault to marry 
you against her will." 

" And thirdly ? " 

■•Because your Liberators have murdered thousands 
of innocent people." 

" Anything more ? " , 

" Yes, because you're such a damned villain that you 
pollute the earth." 

" We are candid," Mr. Gault smiled. " As to the first 
and second indictments, I must really beg you to mind 
your own business. If I have erred, my Maker shall 
judge me— but no man living. As regards the Liberators, 
I don't mind confessing, Mr. Haraldson, that, with my 
whole heart, I detest them. If I obey their orders, it is 
because they trapped me ; indeed, it is to get myself out 
of their clutches that I would like to ask your help. 

" Then you politely called me a damned villain," Mr. 
Gault laughed. "So I pollute the earth ! Well— well!" 
There was a twinkle of fun in the grey eyes. "Now you 
shall carry an errand for me to Hades— my messengers 
are always welcomed there for the sake of their news. 
Tell the Infernal authorities that the Tammany Gang 
now pays me a million dollars a year— mind you deliver 
this correctly. Swindlers pay me about two million 
dollars a year, other sinners one and a-half millions a 
year ; miscellaneous dividends, from my investments, 
five and a-half millions a year— total income, ten million 
dollars. And then there is the profit from speculation- 
one cannot reorganize the world without capital. My 
personal outlay is insignificant, my annual investments 
four millions a year, my gifts to art galleries, gymnasia, 
polytechnics, baths, universities, churches, together with 
my charities, constitute an expenditure, mainly secret, 
of six million dollars a year. Since I have begun to 



THE FIRST REVELATION 179 

govern the community, crime, swindling, jobbery, and 
corruption have ce.-.sed to be proiitable-I am taxing 
8in to death-I am giving the revenues of sin for the 
highest uses of mankind. That is my message for Hell 
—see to It. So I am carrion, Mr. Haraldson, polluting 
the earth; so you are my judge, deciding the mighty 
.ssues of Right and Wrong ; so you are the executioner 
appointed from heaven to slay me." 

"You are going to set up as an archangel?" asked 
Urand, sarcastically. 

"Mr. Haraldson, let us both try to put aside our 
personal feelings ; hate each other we do to our utmost 
capacity, yet we may have interests in common, and 
private spite must not be allowed to interfere with the 
service of mankind. Now to proceed-you have done 
me the honour to serve on the staff of the Avennr, in 
the position of Blackmailing Editor." 

Brand started as though he had been struck in the 
lace but he knew now that Mr. Gault was merely 
speaking the truth. ' 

.i,-"^.°^, *'*''* *'^° '"'^'='' yourself with my affairs in 
this Clewston ' detective business. You now know 
how the combination of absolute secrecy and absolute 
publicity works : the Frailty Investigation in one build- 
ing, the Avenger- in another. The one is the central 
detective system of the world, to which all others are 
mere branches; the other-the Avenger-is a stock 
exchange bulletin to control prices, to levy blackmail, a 
financial tool. It is not a real newspaper, there are no 
real newspapers-tell you this in Hades-since I have 
controlled the news associations. If a telegram is ad- 
verse to my interests it does not appear. I am the real 
censor of the Press ; I am the master of all crime ; the 
Uty Government obeys me ; the State Legislature is my 
spittoon; the Executive at Washington is my flunkey, 



I! 



i8o 



THE FIRST REVELATION 



and in a few more years I shall be president of the 
Associated Trusts which will control the industries of 
the Republic, the whole energy of the population." 

Gault rose and stretched out his arms, looking down 
at his enemy through half-dosed eyes. 

" I am the master of the New World. Will you die, 
Haraldson, when you can be my partner?" 

Brand opened his mouth to defy him, but Mr. Gault 
transfixed him with those cruel grey eyes. Then he sat 
down, resting his elbow on the desk, his face on his hand, 
still staring as though he would hypnotize his victim ; 
and, somehow. Brand felt all his senses lulled to 
quietude. 

" For years, Mr. Haraldson, I have waited for a man 
with the courage to defy me as you have. In mind and 
body, in ability, in manliness, you are superb. Look 
you, I am a very ambitiour man; I am greater than 
most of the world's idols — they know all this in Hades 
— my only peers, Alexander, Cxsar, Napoleon; yet I 
want more power, for I am barely forty years of age, 
with all the world before me. I have the New World, I 
want to own the British Empire ; because, with Anglo- 
Saxondom at my feet, I can abolish war, do vast benefit 
to the human race, take, at one leap, a century of pro- 
gress. It would be nice to grind these Irish Liberators 
under heel, eh ? 

•' Well, look at England ; more rotten than even the 
United States, but absolutely blind except to her neigh- 
bours' sins." The eyes of the great visionary were 
alight now with enthusiasm. " Already, I could com- 
pel many of its greatest personages to obey my orders ; 
but I want a machine in London, another Frailty 
Investigation, another Avenger, if I can only get a man 
to run them. Such a man would make himself, in a few 
years, master of the British Empire, master of Europe. 



THE FIRST REVELATION i8t 

Together, we can utterly abolish cr'.ne, call down from 
heaven the millenniui- of peace. Come, Haraidson, for 
the good of mankin.: for the liberation of the earth 
from the chains of ,.n, I offer you the throne of the 
Old World." 

"Thanks." Brand pitched Mr. Gault's cigar across 
the room. "You say that your power is founded upon 
sin, that ail sin pays tribute to you ; therefore, you want 
me to help you to found a new empire of sin. Now, 
when you've frightened everybody into being good, 
there'll be no people to obey your orders, or pay for 
your silence, so there won't be a,iy power or any revenue 
left, and you climb down. The object of your ambition 
is to abolish yourself." 

" You don't understand. I " 

"Excuse me, Mr. Gault, I'm speaking. You have 
invited me to become your partner in crime, parricide, 
murderer, sham philanthropist, master of sin, modern 
embodiment of the devil I You are trying to force Miss 
Hilda to marry you, and you threaten to kill me if I 
don't become your accomplice : the King of the New 
World can't buy a decent woman's love or a man's 
friendship I 

^ "Now I may say, right now," Brand tose to his feet, 
"that I don't expect to be able to save Miss Gault, I 
don't calculate to get out of this house alive ; but I 
should like, before I die,"— he lifted his tumbler of 
champagne— «tf express,"— he dashed it into Gault's 
face— "to express my opinion of you." 

So saying. Brand opened his clasp-kr.ire, ripped the 
picture of Justice from side to side, from top to bottom, 
dashed through the torn canvas, drew the thin steel 
cables together, and began to climb hand over hand up 
the shaft. '. Why didn't I kill him ?" he thought, sick 
with misgiving. " Of course, I ought to have killed him. 



i8a 



THE FIRST REVELATION 



He'll kill me now, and serve me right for a damned fo'^1 1 
Why didn't I kill?" 

For a moment Gault stood helpless, his face cut with 
the broken glass, his eyes smarting with the golden wine ; 
then, wiping away the wine and the blood with his hand- 
kerchief, he followed Brand through the picture. His 
face was white, his eyes were glittering with rage, yet 
were his hands steady, his whole body strong with 
perfect self-control. Brand had gone out of sight 
swarming up the wires, but Gault was in no hurry ; 
his movements were slow, almost leisurely, as he put on 
a pair of wash-leather gloves, took from a peg within the 
picture-frame a pair of large steel shears, fitted them 
upon one of the cables, and, with all his force, drew the 
handles together. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

THE SECOND REVELATION 

A TREMENDOUS Crash shook the building as the 
severed end of the cable fell with its weighted platform 
down the shaft. Brand found one of the lines coiling 
like a spring against his legs, while, running up between 
his hands, it cut them to th bone; but realiiing the 
extremity of his peril, he t .cw his weight upon this 
ascending cable, and so arrested his fall. Now, his body 
being heavier than the platform on the other end of the 
line, he sank slov/ly down through the dar! .ss until he 
saw his enemy black against the lampligh: jf the big 
office, striking at him again and again with the knife 
which Brand had dropped after cutting his way throueh 
the picture. ' 

Gault aimed behind the left shoulder-blade at his 
heart, but, as Brand swung helpless, his body turned, so 
that the blow glanced harmless from the rib roots near 
his spine. Again Gault struck, plunging the blade-hilt 
deep mto the muscle of his left arm. The third blow 
missed. Looking up to laugh at Gault's failure. Brand 
saw the great shears reached out again to cut the line 
Looking down horrified he descried the white edge of a 
fourth recess some feet below, and jumped as the cable 
broke. It caught his back with a staggering blow. The 
long coil of steel was swishing down the shaft, then 
came a resounding crash in the depths. He felt the 
•83 



l84 



THE SECOND REVELATION 



recess with his fingers, searching the door which he 
knew must communicate with the offices of the Irish 
Liberators. At the same moment came an hysterical 
laugh of triumph from Gault overhead — the lamplight 
vanished, the shaft was left in darkness. Then the panel 
swung open, reveling a lighted room, and Dick Straight 
holding out his hand in welcome. 

"Poor devil," said the Secretary of the Liberators. 
" Calling on Mr. Gault after hours ? You've made enough 
row between you. Badly hurt? You must let me help 
you, old fellow." 

" Help me ? " Brand, half mad with pain, was leaning 
back now against some bookshelves in the office, his 
elbows dripping blood, his strength slowly ebbing away. 
" I want no help from you." 

"So you want to fight?" Straight laughed at him. 
" Maxim guns at ten paces, eh ? " 

Brand made no answer, but watched with a dull 
curiosity while Straight took a blank visiting-card from 
his pocket-book, and scribbled upon it with a fountain 
pen. " Look at that," he whispered. 

Brand's eyes were swimming, he had to shade them 
with his hand before he could read — yet he felt impelled 
to know what had been written. 

" I see. Great 1 " 

" Hush I " Straight whispered. " It's not safe to speak. 
You understand ? " 

" I understand." 

Straight put the card to his mouth, licked off the wet 
ink, struck a match, burned the writing to its last vestiges, 
crumbled the ashes to powder, and scattered that. 

"Brand," — his voice had a ring of emotion now — 
" have we any need of machine-guns ? " 

"Forgive me, Dick. I'll stand by you while I live, 
You will forgive me, old fellow?" 



THE SECOND REVELATION 185 

Brand extended his hand. 

" Put her there, Dick. Hadn't I better get back into 
the shaft ? Ain't you afraid ? " 

" No, Brand ; not more than usual." Straight smiled. 
" Danger and I are partners." 

" By all the powers, Dick, you're " 

"That's all right," said Straight, hurriedly; "but I 
won't shake hands, old fellow— you're all bloody." 

Brand looked at his hands, which were terribly cut. 
He saw the blood dripping quickly from his left elbow; 
already it was making a little dark pool on the floor. 

" You're not losing strength ? " Straight spoke anxiously 
"Does Gault know that you're still alive?" 
" Yes, knows I'm in this room." 

"Then if you're caught here, we're both past praying 
for. Gault will take ten minutes, at least, to have the 
building surrounded. Do you see that door ? " 

They were in the General Manager's room, and the 
door was that of the Secretarial office, locked. 

" Put your shoulder to it," said Straight. " I have the 
key ; but, for my sake, you must make believe to break 
your way out." 

Brand put his gigantic shoulder against the panels, 
and the lock yielded as to a battering-ram. Straight 
turned out the lights, and followed into the Secretarial 
office, where he took his hat. 
" Now the door to the passage ! " 
Brand having smashed this also to splinters, Straight 
drew him back. 

"Hark!" he whispered, "they're ringing for the 
elevator already. Back with you. I'll get you into 
the shaft. There's an iron ladder down the side, and 
these keys will let you through some doors at the 
bottom into the upper basement." Straight had stripped 
off Brand's coat, and hastily bound the wounds with a 



186 THE SECOND REVELATION 

couple of handkerchiefs. "The dripping of that blood 
would leave a trail ; it must be stopped. You lie in 
wait near the basement entrance, until I get the hall- 
porter called away; then make a bolt for it to the 
Comet Saloon, where you can give the Liberator sign, 
and wait for me. On with your coat, quick ! " 

When the searchers came, Straight was discovered in 
his office, newly horrified by the discovery of broken 
doors, blood-stains, and chairs capsized. " See here ! " 
he cried ; " whoever this was, he couldn't have escaped 
by the main stairway, because you came that way. Try 
the back windows ! " 

While his retreat was thus covered. Brand escaped 
down the iron ladders fixed to the side of the shaft ; and 
at the bottom, using Straight's keys, found his way 
through a cupboard into an empty oflfice, from which he 
gained the corridors of the upper basement. 

By this time Straight had drawn the search party 
away into a maze of streets, taking with him the porter 
who guarded the basement door. So Brand, too weak 
with loss of blood to suffer much, found his way, some- 
how, to the Comet Saloon, where, making the sign of 
the Liberators, he was well cared for. The landlord 
took him to a bedroom, bound up the serious gashes in 
his back, left arm, and hands, gave him a big drink, and 
even in spite of that the bleeding ceased. ; 

At one o'clock in the morning. Straight came to 
Brand's room. So, with wonderful surprises in store for 
both of them, the two men began to speak of their 
adventure. 

"Incredible enough to be true," pondered Straight, 
when Brand had finished his story. " Dr. Clewston and 
Gault the same man ! This is all new ; and, if I hadn't 
exhausted the faculty of wonder, I suppose I should be 
excited. 



THE SECOND REVELATION i8; 

"Well, I've often thought that if the devil had an 
incarnation, he would come as a great philanthropist 
Marshall Gault from ten o'clock till five, is Dr. Clewston 
from five o'clock till midnight. I should think the devil 
had most satisfaction out of those mornings. Sired by 
corrupted capital out of brutalized labour— King of the 
New World, scourge of the race— he is a revelation." 

" Well," said Brand, raising himself painfully in the 
bed ; " I guess you're a second revelation. To think 
what a confounded fool I've been, quarrelling with you. 
My dear fellow, I love a brave man. And you're so 
deuced cool about it— secretary of the Liberators and," 
his voice dropped to a whisper, "secret agent of the 
British Government" 

"On a small scale I live, like Clewston-Gault, a 
double life, you see; it's dirty work," said Straight 
wearily ; " filthy work, because some of these Liberators' 
are patriots, and I spy upon them. It makes me feel so 
old, so vile. I fancy sometimes that women shrink 
from me by instinct, even the dogs don't like me. Yet 
I should have found out nothing for the Home Office 
unless I had served Gault by sneaking into the Club 
pumping poor old Father Jared, and betraying all the 
Reformers. Of cou.se, I have persuaded Gault that 

they are harmless lunatics ; but, still And you 

I was ordered by Gault to lead you into temptation, to 
drag you down into the mire until he found his chance 
to use or destroy you. For that service," Straight 
laughed, "my pay was to be twenty thousand dollars. 
He offered me ten thousand to get you into his clutches • 
so I raised him, or he would never have believed in me.' 
Shall I betray you for money ? Shall I play Judas ? 
Its a big stake, twenty thousand dollars." 

Brand stared, for this kind of chaff had much too keen 
an edge. 



1 88 



THE SECOND REVELATION 



" But," continued the spy, " your friendship is a better 
card to play — my ace of trumps — while Gault thinks we 
are enemies." 

A minute ago Straight had been bowed down, 
ashamed ; then his raillery struck like a rapier thrust ; 
now he shook with excitement. 

" You don't know Dick Straight, you're much too big 
and stupid to understand. Ever see a python, torpid 
with cold, lift his head at daybreak to face the sun? 
Ever see him live as lightning in the noon-haat ? That's 
me — that's the real me — been asleep, torpid ; but I see 
daylight now, the hot time's coming for my kill, and 
Marshall Gault's my meat!" His eyes danced with 
delight. " I'm going to trust you absolutely, to use you 
for all you're worth. Why, how solemn you look. How 
should you know the fun there is in this spy business ? 
Intrigue is the most glorious sport in the world, stalking 
grizzlies would be tame compared with it ; Bengal tigers 

are kittens compared with the game I hunt for my 

You're not scred, are you .' " 

"No," said Brand, smiling. "But you're a Chinese 
puzzle of a man ; your sudden changes take away one's 
breath." 

Straight glared into his eyes. 

" You trust me ? " 

"Some." Brand grasped his hand. "We shall not 
trust by halves." , 

" Well, listen till I trust you with my life." 

Straight went on tiptoe to the door, which he opened 
suddenly for a rapid survey of the passage; then, 
returning satisfied, drew his chair close to the bedside. 

" Now you know why I never read novels — they are 
so tame compared with my daily life. Sometimes, 
Brand, 1 fear that I shall go mad ; but the strain is part 
of the business, and excitement is more fun than 



THE SECOND REVELATION 189 

drinking, anyway. But imagine what it was for me to 
see those ships going to their death when I didn't even 
Itnow how the infernal machines were taken on board of 
them. Gault took care that I shouldn't (ind out how 
my explosives were applied. Until I knew that my 
wammgs were useless to the Government, I hardly 
dared communicate with the Home Office because I was 
watched; when I knew that any day some diplomatic 
fuddlmg might put these devils on to my track Then " 
his voice dropped, "you quarrelled with me. Brand the 
only man I ever hoped to trust-my one friend, except 
Father Jared ; and I was left all alone. I wouldn't have 
cared if Id only had the Liberators to deal with— I 
know them through and through, and despise them ; 
only with Ganlt for a leader are they dangerous The 
Union Jack is nothing to you; but I'm Canadian, 
Brand, and it was breaking my heart to see the de- 
struction of our Imperial British commerce, with all 
those innocent people sent to Davy Jones, when I 
couldnt raise a hand to save them. When the Giant 
hner blew up on the Mersey bar, of course I realized 
why infernal machines had never been found in the 
ships, so I got the divers to tell me how they used to fix 
torpedoes, with a clock-work regulator, against the keels 
-yes here m New York, and now my department will 
see that this particular method is put a stop to Each 
machine was shaped so as to offer very little resistance • 
It was not fastened at all, but held to the ship by 
suction ; the air between being pumped out, leaving a 
vacuum. No, not dynamite— that explodes downwards ■ 
they use a new explosive, the ' Cyclone,' and our office 
handles the patent, so as to make it without exciting 
suspicion. The Mersey explosion must have been 
caused by a torpedo, which had failed to go off until it 
touched ground on the bar; but, then, not one machine 



m 



190 



THE SECOND REVELATION 



in six ever did succeed — most of them being swept off 
by the sea." He laid his hand nervously on Brand's 
wrist. "How you abused me! Of course, after the 
Mersey business, the murders had to stop for a while, 
but the trouble is that the Liberators have a new 
invention — Gault's — which will be even more difficult to 
deal with ; and they're going to attack every British 
liner that passes the Suez Canal. Of course my business 
is to discourage these gentlemen — the deuce knows how, 
I don't— but the uncertainty is part of the fun. Now, 
as to Gault's share in this business. He joined the 
Liberators to make use of their secrets, and learned of 
the intended attack on British shipping, which he 
opposed as long as he dared, saying that it was so 
atrocious that it would throw all public sympathy on 
the English side. Then came the question of Miss 
Gault, and, mind you, he honestly loves her." 

Brand ground his teeth. 

"So long as she thought of him only as a sort of 
brother, she liked him well enough, for, remember, they 
were brought up together. But, when Gault made love, 
she shrank from him by instinct, at which coyness Gault 
lost his temper. To compel her to be dependent upon 
him he beggared her. I saw it all when he suddenly 
began tc approve of the destruction of shipping, to 
transform the Liberator organization, from being a mere 
machine for getting money out of Irish pockets, into a 
powerful, efficient, and really dangerous society. That's 
when he put me in as secretary. Throwing the weight 
of his genius into the Councils, he recommended that 
the King Line should be first attacked, and I found him 
secretly investing millions of dollars in American and 
German lines, so as to profit by their coming prosperity. 
Then you came. Brand, you were evidently so dangerous 
because of your knowledge as regards the train-wrecking, 



THE SECOND REVELATION igt 

that you were taken into our death-trap building, where 
it would be easy to disarm or destroy you. When you 
were made Fighting Editor the drama began to get 
excitmg, so I watched like a cat. To get you on to the 
Avenger staff, which Gault intended anyway, I believe 
Miss Gault placed herself under an obligation to our 
charming friend. Well, to make a long story short, she 
was ruined by the bankruptcy of the King Line, and all 
her magnificent charities must have come to an end- 
poor little orphan children sent back to stew in the 
slums ; cripples, blind men, widows, all sorts of helpless 
folk left to starve. Her heart was with them ; for their 
sakes she sold herself to the man she hates— yes, he 
took over her list of charities on condition that 'she 
should marry him. The date is fixed. December the 
third ; less than a month, Brand, and she will be his 
wife ! " 

"Oh, this is horrible!" Brand's face had become 
ghastly, his eyes seemed starting from his head 
"Straight, if we can't smash this man by fair means, I 
shall murder him." 

And I," said Straight, " must destroy the Liberators 
before their plans are perfected for the new campaign. 
We are allies. Brand ; together we must fight this last 
big battle. Say"— he turned suddenly to his friend— 
" excuse my asking, old chap— do you ever pray ? I 
don't mean kneeling down and making a fuss, but iust 
praying inside." 

Brand was uneasy. "Yes. Sometines— that is— 
occasionally." 
" Let's ask for help then." 






Afterwards both men were quieter, the nervous tension 
was gone, and Straight began smoking— at which Brand 



191 THE SECOND REVELATION 

was envious, being too badly wounded to enjoy the gentle 

" How are we to fight ? " he said presently ; " I'm too 
played out to think." 

"How ? By a merciful dispensation we have two days 
to consider. To-morrow w Sunday, Monday is a public 
holiday, so the Fighting Editor won't be wanted, but by 
Tuesday morning you must be well enough to get back 
to your office." , 

" How can I go on being Fightmg Editor now f 

"You must." Being a confirmed cigarette smoker. 
Straight never could keep his hand steady. Now it 
shook palpably. " Don't lose your nerve. The posi- 
tion will be useful. No, Gault won't fire you out— 
because while you're on his staff he still has you under 

his thumb." 

" That's comforting ! " 

" Let's face the facts," said Straight. " We two nobodies 
are at war with the biggest scoundrel of the new century ; 
you, for the sake of Miss Gault ; I for England. Prob- 
ably neither of us will be alive next week ; but then, 
who knows ? " he laughed ; " maybe after deatii we shall 
be shoulder to shoulder again fighting with devils. 
Well" he got up and yawned, "there's no need for 
us to be melodramatic about it. You'd better get 
to sleep; I'll away home to think out our plan of 
campaign." 



CHAPTER XXV 



'I 



THE THIRD REVELATION 

Two days Brand lay helpless. These flesh wounds 
were only an irritation, though his hands were lacerated, 
and his left arm was stiff and swollen ; but the loss of 
blood was more 'erious, indeed the doctor threatened 
him with a month's confinement. Few doctors realize 
the temperament to which idleness is worse than useless. 
The very circumstance of danger, to a brave man, is 
better than any tonic known to the faculty. When the 
medicine man called on Monday evening he found the 
patient gone. 

Brand was dining heartily at the time on beef and 
beer, while he chafed against the waste of ten minutes, 
for there was work to be done more urgent even than 
" feeding the brute." He knew he was weak ; he was in 
pain ; but the big heart was thumping under his ribs, 
every nerve tingled with the thrill of excitement ; for 
to-night he had a trump card to play in the mighty game 
of life ; to-morrow— damn to-morrow ! 

He drove to the Club, laboured up the steep stairs to 
the Colonel's room, and burst in upon the old gentleman 
with scant ceremony. 

" Colonel," he gasped, sinking breathless upon the bed, 
"get up and hustle — here you've been loafing around for 
months with a cracked skull ; but it's time to quit right 
now— the fight's begun." 

O ,93 



194 



THE THIRD REVELATION 



« Wall," Mid the Colonel, briskly, " I'm right glad to fee 
you, although you've no more manners than an Apache 
We thought you'd gone under." 

" No, sir," was the retort, " not while Clewston is Gault, 
and Gault's alive." 

" So the time has come," the Colonel caressed his 
nose, which, since his convalescence, was rapidly regaining 
its fine quality as a danger signal. " We shall tear the 
everlasting hair and feathers out of the dodgasted Gum 
Pot ! May I remark, young man, that you've paid for 
your information ? " 

" One dig in the ribs, one scratch in the arm, two hands 
mussed up," said Brand, " it was cheap at that." 
" The quotations are high on scarecrows." 
" What do you mean ? " Brand flushed. 
"That, considerir.7 your state of repair, you seem to 
fancy yourself. Of all ghastly wrecks ! Well, tell me 
how it happened, and we'll get to business." 

Brand told his story, omitting all that related to 
Straight. 

" Wall," said the Colonel. " Supposing that when you 
came to New York like a new-born pup I'd told you 
Clewston's real name — supposing that you had known 
five months ago that Gault was the train-wrecker, guilty 
of murdering the man who'd adopted him as his son." 
Brand's face hardened. " I'd have gone for him." 
"And he would have gone for you — why, I'd never 
have found your body. Now, you have learned how to 
fight, so that we can wrestle with the Devil to some 
purpose; indeed, I may remark right here that I'm 
proud of you. Brand — real proud of you. 

"Do you remember" — he burst out laughing — "when 
I stole those documents from your room — to save you 
from being too p'-vious ? Gault required of me what- 
ever papers I'd given you on pain of— you know what. 



THE THIRD REVELATION ,95 

Of course, I wasn't «uch a dodeasted Mi„» a 
•aved one p.ckage-niy last win fn!! ♦ ^ ™** 

identify Clewston as thr^ri^inVTurZ '" ^°" '° 

co4:;^St?™sr'e;:!;^Ht'"°^''?^--^ 

"You Ullc like a fool, clner^Th" "wamp him." 
enough." '-oionei. The law isn't good 

ha^rSttef- ^"' '^ ' °"'>' •"'«* how to use it 1 

ae"so„'"se"ic:Tucr/e7^"- ^'"=" ' -' '" ^he 
eve>y important do-^'Tfr '" S'"'"« '°P'*'=' """d^ of 

coll^tedTirmat7o„ fo ~"'^ '"^ '''"'^' "P°"- » 
Clewston.'- '"'^°""''"°" '"^ "y °wn use. to blackmail 

■; How much information is there?" 

yearTtif„;'twe7vTm2r"' ^T"^"- ^^ -en 
"And I " faW B«nH "i ''?°' *'"'° ^ e°* '^e sack." 

Dn«onl "'"^ '" '" tod for Ayl„g ,,„ 

"<^*''-S"<^„'irt"'° ^"'"^ -toply. B,.„d 



11 



196 



THE THIRD REVELATION 



dared use these papers. They're at the Safe Deposit, 
and not a soul knows of their existence." 

"ColoneL" Brand rose shaking with excitement. 
" There's anotner side of thin man's life : a friend of 
mine has all ti : evidence. It's not safe to talk about a 
weapon agains. him almost too dangerous to use ; but 
that, together with the detail of the Frailty-Avenger 
machine, makes us strong enough to fight ; and, in 
reserve, we have the train-wrecking. Are you wishful 
to go back to work to-morrow } " 

" I guess so." 

For a moment Brand stood thinking, his eyes on the 
Colonel, who disliked being stared at, and became fretful. 
He worked his rocking-chair, swaying like some gr ve 
parrot on its Loop, while the shadow of his nose swept 
the wall. 

"What do you want?" 

" Colonel, you say that you don't see your way to 
using these records. I do. I'm going to smash Mr. 
C'lewston-Gault." 

The Colonel sneered. " And may I ask how ? " 

" Colonel, I want you to understand right now that 
I'm running this show — you will take my orders without 
question at a fixed salary." 

The Colonel stared. 

"Wall, of all the con— founded " 

"That's all right." Brand filled and lit I..J pipe, 
thinking rapidly the while. "Colonel," he continued, 
blowing away rings of blue smoke, "have you any 
comments to make?" 

"N-no— thatis " 

" First as to money," said Brand; ignoring the Colonel's 
bewilderment — "Michael Gault left me wealth. To- 
night I shall arrange a transfer of money to your credit. 
Who do you bank with ? " 



THE THIRD REVELATION 197 

Although the Colonel was by this time fairly stupefied 
he managed to gasp out the name. 

" All right." Brand lay down on the old gentleman's 
bed, blowing rings of smoke to the ceiling. " Let's see. 
We want a safe place where we can do some type- 
setting. By the way, your Alarm Syndicate Offices are 
in the Safe Deposit Block on Broadway. The third 
floor is vacant, eh ? The second floor is a big Insurance 
office. With the Insurance people below and the Alarm 
Syndicate overhead, that third floor of the Safe Deposit 
building would be an ugly place to attack, even fo- 
Gault. Sit up at the table. Colonel, write a letter resign- 
ing the General Management of the Alarm Syndicate 
Of course, you stay on tht Board and keep your partner- 
ship. Don't growl. Colonel, I want your services. Now 
for the renting of the third floor. Ofler the same terms' 
as you pay for the Alarm Syndicate— say you want it 
ibr additional offices, and will take possession to-morrow 
paying first month in advance." 

The Colonel, after some demur, obeyed orders. 
_ Meanwhile Brand was thinking; indeed, by the time 
the letter was finished his plans had crystallized 

"We want men," he said; "make a note of this. 
Browns Wild West Show is breaking up-doesn't pay 
--h|re six of the smartest cowboys, dress them in store 
clothes, give 'em big pay-but nothing in advance ; and 
by supper time have barracks ready for them on the 
premises. 

After supper divide them into watches, four hours on 
duty and eight off, and put two on guard as door porters 
at front and rear. You must— through the Linotype 
Company-engage three compositors, and hire from 
them a type-setting machine, also a hand press, and a 
plant for formes and paper pulls. I'll give you details of 
tnat. He wrote a memorandum. " The compositors you 



1^8 



THE THIRD REVELATION 



will divide like the cowboys into three eight-hour watches, 
so that the work shall go on day and night. The Lino- 
type Company must arrange to supply a mechanic with 
repair kit, and deliver the entire plant at once with 
gas-engine complete, installed under expert direction. 
We shall ne-id three competent journalists and a boy— 
I'll send them to you. Are you noting this? All right. 
You must go to a labour bureau for a man cook and 
chore boy. 

"How many does that make? Sixteen men and 
yourself. Buy as many revolvers with ammunition. 
Arm only the cowboys, stowing the other hardware out 
of sight. 

" I guess the floor has water laid on, lavatories, steam 
heat, and electric light, eh ? Get a telephone put in, 
and connect another with the Alarm office above. Hire 
a safe and an electric cooking outfit, also a wood stove 
for emergencies. 

" All the food, rations of twenty men for two months, 
must be delivered before sundown in sealed packages- 
nothing bought afterwards. Why ? Because otherwise 
Gault will be monkeying around with croton oil or 
strychnine. Get candles too, for he'll cut off your light, 
and an extra water connection with the Alarm offices, 
for he'll plug up your pipes. Do your washing on the 
premises, or he'll poison the clothes with arsenic ; have 
portable fire-engines, or he'll burn you out. You must 
have enough cases of type to dispense with the linotype 
in case Gault cuts off the gas power. 

"Now, as to supplies— make out written orders for 
everything you want. Leave these orders with the 
merchants, and anything not on hand before sundown 
won't be paid for. 

"Now, above all things, don't parade the fact that 
you've got a secret. If people ask questions, you're 



THE THIRD REVELATION 199 

preparing a big electric-cookery book, say in the interests 
of electric supply companies. You're an enthusiast 
experimenting on your staff to see how quick the diet 
kills under test conditions. If you're molested, let out 
a rumour that the coal and kitchen range people are 
hostile to electric cookery. But I needn't bother you 
with details as to lying— you're a genius. Colonel." 
" Thanks." 

" Be sure you have all your memoranda from the safe 
deposit vaults as soon as you have posted the guards. 
Give the men champagne, cigars, everything they can 
want to eat, drink, smoke, or chew. The guards must 
be ordered to discourage anybody from attempting to 
enter or leave the premises. See that no man stands 
near the windows, or we shall find signalling done by 
spies. Keep the registers and ventilators shut off for 
fear of choke-damp. The responsibility rests with you 
to run that office : : a besieged garrison ; but I shall 
have spies patrolling outside to watch both you and 
your men. Each man is to be promised a bonus— a 
thousand dollars, and double for oflficers if we succeed." 
"But," said the Colonel, feebly, "what are your plans 
young man ? " 

"To set in type every scrap of information we have 
about Marshall Gault." 

'■ But how are you going to get it printed .' " 

"That," said Brand, calmly, "you will leave to me. 
I shall unmask Mr. Clewston-Gault, circulating a million 
copies of the exposure before he knows what I'm up to 
I shall let in the daylight on him. 

"Meanwhile, I must away to my banker at once. 
Look out for spies. So long, Colonel." 

Brand went out, the Colonel looking vaguely at the 
door that had closed upon the new Haraldson— the 
idealist become a man of action. 



H., 



200 



THE THIRD REVELATION 



Then the door swung open again, and Brand appeared 
changed, translated, his eyes ablaze with excitement. 
Bending down over his chair, he spoke rapidly in whispers. 

" Quick— rouse up — spies in the passage ! They can't 
have heard our talk ; but I have an idea— we'll make 
use of them— I'm going to pretend we've quarrelled." 

"Look here!" Snatching from its peg a beauteous 
frock coat. Brand rent that garment from neck to tail, 
at which the Colonel shrieked with genuine rage and 
grief. "You would write to Clewston, would you?" 
Brand grabbed a stick and committed a most dastardly 
assault, raining his torrent of blows upon the bed. 
"Shriek!" he whispered, "scream your darnedest I" 
Then aloud, " Don't say you haven't, because you did, 
and I'm going to kick your tail through your hat" 
(whack, shriek, whack, whimpers and moans). " So you 
refuse, eh?" (loud whacks). "Get out of your room, 
eh?" (sound as of beating out of brains). "I'll stamp 
on your stomach as much as I please, you splay-footed, 
bleary-eyed sot!" (hysterical screeches). "Come out 
from under that, and I'll teach you cookery" (bed 
dragged round the floor, smashing of crockery, dull 
thuds and moans). "There," Brand wiped his forehead, 
" I reckon that will do," and he flung out of the doorway, 
leaving the Colonel a huddled ruin laughing convulsively 
on the floor. 

• • • • • 

But Hilda, all this time since her return from Niagara ? 
Ah, well, there is no need to pry into the squalid, frowsy 
tenement where, every day, suffering makes despair a 
commonplace— death a release. Perhaps, after all, the 
poor thing was no worse off than most of her neighbours. 
The engagement ring glittered on her finger; she was 
sewing the wedding dress— and the people of the slums 
were envious I 



CHAPTER XXVI 

THE PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 

There are shadows in every big city: tracking 
frivolous husbands, erring wives, " trusted " bank officials 
political fugitives, alike in Pall Mall, the Champs Elysee, 
Under den Linden, the Nevski Prospekt, and Broadway. 
These shadows are sharp-eyed boys, casual women, 
unobservant, loitering, aimless men— anybody one meets, 
in fact, unless he looks like a detective. They say that 
their work is fearfully exhausting, because the eyes 
must be constantly fixed upon one moving spot, until 
the head swims, and the knees are shaking with utter 
weariness; that two weeks of it will wear out the 
strongest man; and that the subject of attention 
generally goes out of his way to add to the difficulties 
of the pursuit Haraldson, towering head and shoulders 
above the crowd, had been at first delightfully easy to 
shadow, but now he was a very demon of cunning. 

When he left the Club it was all he could do to crawl 
to the nearest corner of Broadway; so, before venturing 
any further, he drank several cups of beef-tea at a con- 
venient saloon. With a renewed strength, and a bright 
idea in his head, he went to an hotel. Formally he 
registered his name, paying for a bed in advance ; went 
up in the lift, locked himself in his room, kept the light 
burning while he rested ; then turned it out as though 
he were retiring for the night. Ten minutes afterwards 



k\ 



202 



THE PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 



I ill! 



he crept down the scivants' stairs to a back door, by 
which he gained the streets. Before midnight he was 
back in bed again. 

Had the detectives discovered Brand's visit to the 
banker that night, the Colonel's immediate appearance 
as a capitalist would have been explained, and short 
shrift would Gault have given ; but there was little 
guidance for the enemy in the report that Mr. Haraldson 
slept at such and such an hotel after a furious row with 
old Giggleswick. 

On Tuesday morning the journalist went back to work 
again as usual. 

"Walk right in," quoth the front door, "you'll never 
get out again." 

" Don't mind me," said the lift, " I'm going to collapse 
and smash you." 

"Needn't be alarmed," explained the office, "I'm 
only a death-trap." 

Ignorance had been bliss on Saturday, but it was torture 
on Tuesday. Everything was what it did not appear 
to be, as in some fantastic dream ; Gault was Clewston ; 
the Secretary of the Liberators was a British secret 
agent ; the Colonel, most helpless-seeming of mortals, 
had furnished weapons to fight the dragon ; the office 
of the great philanthropist was a charnel-house full of 
nasty bones ; the fighting editorship an instrument of 
blackmail ; the lunch at two p.m. would probably be 
seasoned with strychnine. Brand himself had become, 
since Saturday, an invalid, racked with pain, and weak 
with loss of blood. But business went on as usual, with 
all its petty circumstance and detail ; the great machine 
of journalism ground jut, in the ordinary routine, its 
facts, flippancies, falsehoods, for the use, the beguilement, 
and the deception of an innumerable public. Locking 
himself into the office, Brand opened the secret door, 



THE PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 303 

laced some copper wire to and fro across the recess, then 
connected up the ends thereof to the electric-hght circuit. 
Afterwards he went to work at an editorial, whistling 
some dismal air he had heard at a funeral. During the 
day some spy would be sent up the shaft to murder him, 
who would touch the electrified wires in the recess. To 
Brand this idea was worse than the pain of his wound ; 
he was whistling the Dead March in Saul. 

Once, during the afternoon, he looked up from his 
work, disturbed by what rounded like a muffled scream, 
followed, presently, by a dull thud, far away down in the 
earth. He went on writing, but the music rang in his 
head; "slow, sad, severe; men's sobs and the roar of 
guns ; soft wailing flutes, and measured roll of drums." 

There were tears in the man's eyes; he could not 
write any more; what mockery it was to perpetrate 
grave columns about the guidance by civilization of 
barbarous powers, the gentle influences of Christianity 
in the moonlit Orient, the loosing of the bonds of slavery 
from the neck of Islam. 

May Allah save the East.from the sins of the West ! 

The article had to be botched up somehow ; it was ; 
and Brand had half the afternoon left to gather up such 
documents as were likely to be of service. The Fighting 
Editor felt, in his heart, that treachery to his employer 
had become a virtue ; so he crammed a valise and his 
pockets, until his depredations had left the machinery of 
blackmail stripped, incapable of further mischief. He 
chuckled to himself when he locked the door behind him, 
and rang fof'the lift, which would save him the trouble 
of the stairways. When the cage came up, he stepped 
into it; and the :)y was closing the door before 
descending, when somebody came hurriedly along the 
passage, beckoning the youngster to wait. 

" Go on," said Brand. " What are you waiting foi ? " 



'HI 



III 



204 THE PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 

•' It's Mr. Straight," said the boy. 

At the same moment the Secretary of the Liberators 
appeared; but, instead of entering the lift, he defied 
Brand to come oit of it, if he dared, and fight. 

Brand came out. 

" Now," said Straight, when the trellis door was closed, 
and the cage gone down to answer a call from below. 
" Quick, down the stairs if you value your life, but not 
to the Club. Why ? I can't explain ; I daren't be seen 
with you. Meet me at eleven o'clock in Wall Street. 
There," Straight thrust him towards the stairs, " now, 
for heaven's sake, go I And at the tenth floor take the 
back elevator." 

So saying, Straight fled for the roof garden, leavmg 
Brand, somewhat weak at the knees, to find his way 
cautiously out of the death-trap, and into the partial 
security of lighted streets. 

Despite the cold rain and biting wind, at ten o'clock 
he was in Broadway, watching the bustle of preparation 
in the premises on the third floor of the S^fe Deposit 
block. The morning mail having brought Colonel 
Giggleswick a note from the banker, all day he must 
have been rushing about the city after men, provisions, 
machinery, furniture, for now everything seemed in an 
advanced stage of preparation. Brand saw, while he 
stood there, the arrival of the jo-irnalists he had en- 
gaged early that morning ; blinds were being fitted in 
the windows ; waggons were being unloaded at the door. 
So, with his heart at ease, he took a car to the foot of 
Broadway ; and, having by one of his ruses shaken oP 
any possible follower, strolled to Wall Street, where, 
presently. Straight joined him on the stroke of eleven. 

Brand laid his hand on Straight's shoulder, leaning 
somewhat heavily, as they turned their steps Sown past 
the Treasury towards a street of office buildings now 



THE PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 



205 






closed and deserted for the night Here, by keeping a 
sharp look-out, they might safely talk. 

" Well, Dick," he said, cheerfully, " have you thought 
out your plan of campaign ? " He was frightened by 
the loudness of his voice, which seemed to rumble along 
the glistening wet pavement, to resound from the lofty 
buildings. 

" No," Straight looked up at the giant's tired face, 
" the brains are in your head, not mine, for your escapes 
to-day were almost miraculous. Gault is tearing his 
hair." 

" Hush," whispered Brand, " speak lower." 

Straight's voice sank to a murmur. " He's all right 
as to the man who fell down the shaft, for even if the 
body is found at the outfall of the sewers it won't be 
recognized — Gault knows his business. He's rather 
relieved, too, that you were not killed before leaving the 
building, because in the streets an act of revenge for 
your performances as Fighting Editor will be so much 
more plausible. But, Brand, this is very serious, your 
row with the Colonel — can't you patch it up somehow ? " 

"What does the old gentleman say?" was Brand's 
grave comment. 

" Irreconcilable— why, he's furious ! He says that in 
all his life he never cherished a rattlesnake in his bosom, 
but it turned and rent him ; besides, the Upas blight of 
your ingratitude has flooded his soul with woe. He 
didn't explain exactly how you'd arranged that, but the 
whole Club was awed," 

Brand laughed aloud. "And did he talk electric 
cookery ? " 

" My dear fellow, he nearly talked us to death." 

" That's all right, he's found time anyway to obey my 
orders. This is the plan of campaign." 

So Brand explained all that had happened since their 



206 



THE PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 



Saturday meeting, ending with a plaintive comment 
upon the general situation. " Look here, Dick, what's 
the use of being boss of a large electric-cookery outfit, 
tenant of a swell suite of oflices on Broadway, com- 
mander-in-chief of six cowpunchers, six compositors, 
two journalists, foreman, cook, and cook's devil, laundry- 
man, not to mention something more than a mere 
military Colonel — and yet I daren't shov my nose inside 
the door I Here are my pockets and this valise stuffed 
with papers I've stolen from the office, which I can't 
carry about and daren't leave anywhere. How on 
earth shall I send them to the Colonel?" 

" There are all the Alarm Doctors at your service. 
Little Johnson, for instance, belongs to the Club." 

" Do you know any of Johnson's patients ? " 

" Father Jared pays the little man a monthly salary 
to attend his poor. Give me the papers. Brand, we've 
got an ' underground railroad ' now such as Gault will 
never discover." 

Brand transferred his load to Straight without further 
comment ; then they two resumed their conversation, 
pacing up and down the deserted street. 

" Look here, old chap," Straight drew Brand'i .-rm 
within his own ; " to-night I've so arranged matters that 
our meeting is safe ; but you must remember that we're 
still supposed to be enemies, so the less we see of each 
other the better." 

They parted for a minute or two while a belated clerk 
was hurrying towards Brooklyn Bridge ; then joined 
company again, standing so that one could look up, the 
other down, the street. 

" If we are discovered in company the childish trust- 
fulness of the Liberators is gone, I shall have to skip the 
country, and you'd better say your prayers. It's only 
as avowed enemies that you, the Colonel, and I can 



THE PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 



ao7 



succeed in this game ; while all the forces of society are 
against us. I have been waiting so many years for this 
chance that I'm terrified lest any imprudence should put 
our enemies on their guard ; yet I have much to tell 
you that's too important to leave unsaid. You see now 
how hopeless it would have been for me to use any 
ordinary weapons against the Liberators. At present 
the Home Office is in despair; so I must act for Eng- 
land as though I were alone, taking all the responsibility, 
because you see the interference of a headless, toilless, 
bungling Department of State would be certainly fatal. 
Publicity is the weapon I have always longed to handle, 
a sudden blaze of light before which the Liberators will 
melt away like a shadow. Secrecy is their power ; if 
the public knew their methods, their personal frailty, 
their wickedness, their incapacity, there would be no 
subscriptions of money to steal, no secret support by 
politicians who value their influence, no toleration by the 
Press— they would be hunted like wolvea" 
Straight paused to light a cigarette, then continued— 
"Brand, the immediate results will be frightful, a com- 
mercial panic, which will involve millions of people ; but 
the disease cannot be cured with half measures, and 
after the cataclysm this poor old world will be wiser, 
healthier, cleaner, brave as ever to face the problems of 
the future. It will take me a week, Brand, to prepare 
my screed about Gault ; the Colonel will need quite a 
few days to set it in type ; and, meanwhile, I want you 
to be ..s circumspect as a shop-lilter. Take no steps to 
communicate either with me or with the Colonel ; do 
nothing but guard your own life— which, I can assure 
you, will need all your power. Take the swimmer's 
advice, keep the talking end out of the water, because 
the Colonel and you. Brand, will need more than the 
nine lives of a cat" 



! 



208 



THE PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 



" I gueu if Gault knew it," said Brand, with a grim 
chuckle, " he nini a bigger risk than I do." 

" Don't interrupt me, old fellow, I must get away from 
here before we're caught talking. To-day Gault sent 
for me to say that these idiotic Liberators are suspicious 
as to my loyalty. He told me that I must remove 
their doubts by hunting down the man who had been 
trespassing in the lodge-room of the Council I 
objected, telling him plainly I was a secretary, not an 
assassin ; to which he replied that out of consideration 
for my feelings he had made all necessary arrangements 
for your removal as a dangerous enemy of Irish liberty. 
' If,' he continued, ' Haraldson is alive to-morrow you 
will be called upon, Mr. Straight, to prove your more 
than doubtful loyalty. I'll see he does not leave his 
work until after dusk ; you will have him shot down 
the moment that he reaches the street ; your men will 
then scatter, and if any of them are captured, I pledge 
my word that they shall not be dealt with by the law.' 

" Now, Brand, I've warned you fairly that I shall have 
a gang of n\y blackguards to murder you when you 
leave the office to-morrow night. You know the back- 
door by which you escaped on Saturday — the one 
between the stereo-room and press-room in the base- 
ment ? I'll forget about that. All right, old fellow, the 
day after to-morrow — I'll try and arrange an appoint- 
ment. Meanwhile, take care that you don't sleep two 
nights running at the same hotel. Good-night. Oh, 
stay — I forgot— have you any firearms on you?" 

" A revolver," said Brand. " Why ? " 

" Then give it to me." 

Brand gave it to him. 

" If Gault's men catch you producing a weapon for 
self-defence, they'll accuse you of assault with intent to 
kill— which means a long sentence— and you'll be in 



THE PLAN OF CAMPAIGN 209 

gaol at the moment when everything depends upon 
your freedom. Promise me to carry no weapons." 

•Right," Brand chuckled. " I'll use ray £sU all the 
more freely— good-night." 

" Mind, though, not too freely." 

So they shook hands and parted. 



CHAPTER XXVII 
THE HORRORS OF WAR 

When Brand came down the stairways on Wednes- 
day evening, thanks to Straight's warning, he had no 
idea of going out by the front door to be shot down as 
soon as he gained the street; but as he crossed the 
vestibule to gain the basement stairs, the tune he was 
whistling was cut short at the very top note, for just at 
the corner of the lift entrance he met Mr. Gault face to 
face. 

What on earth could the Boss be doing here? 

"Good-evening," said Mr. GauU, smiling at Brand's 
evident surprise ; " you're late leaving your work." 

" Seems to me," replied Brand roughly, " that you're 
late too. Dr. Clewston must be waiting for you." 

"He can wait. I want to speak with you, Mr. 
Haraldson. Come this way." 

Brand followed i.ito the Avenger Enquiries Office, 
now deserted for the night, and there Mr. Gault turned 
on the lights, asking his visitor to be seated, while, 
thrusting his hat back on his head, he leant against the 
public counter, nervously tracing patterns on the oilcloth 
with the ferrule of his umbrella. Maybe, there were 
moments when even Napoleon the Great forgot to 
pose. 

Brand took off his hat, and sat down on a bench 
opposite, within easy reach of the door. He was in 



THE HORRORS OF WAR an 

terrible pain, for thi- wound in his shoulder always 
became troublesome at sundown; indeed, what little 
sleep he had enjoyed these last few nights was arranged 
for him by a druggist. 

" Mr. Haraldson," said the great man with a gentle- 
ness of voice and manner that astonished Brand, " this 
is a most pitiful business." 
" It is — for some people." 

" I mean for you. I suppose, Mr. Haraldson, that, as 
the world judges, I must be a very bad man." He stood 
erect, his eyes dreaming, his face changed. •' My con- 
temporaries weigh me in their tiny scales, not seeing 
the necessities of despotism; but a hundred years 
hence, looking back upon the true perspective of history, 
people will realize how expedient my life-work was. 
Armed war produced all former conquerors ; Industrial 
Individualism has ite ultimate development in me ; and 
after me. Christian Altruism will produce one more, 
mighty enough to set his heel upon my head. Christianity 
found the many politkally sla'-es of the few ; to-day the 
many are industrially slaves of the few ; very soon all 
men shall be free. And I look for the supreme genius 
of the morrow, who shall break the chains of mankind." 

For a moment Brand sat thinking. "This is too 
high falutin," he said, "for a plain man like me; but 
if it eases your mind, go on." ' 

Mr. Gault, with an impatient gesture, continued 
speaking. "There is one more point, Mr. Haraldson, 
that I should like to mention. You referred the other 
night to an attempt made some years ago against the 
life of Mr. Michael Gault" He looked up, and fastened 
his gaze upon Brand. " Will you believe me if I ass- ■; 
you that a dreadful mistake was made? I am noi 
inclined "—he spoke haughtily—" to explain the hostility 
then existing between Michael Gault— and the wrecker 



111 



ip! 

!" 'I' 



213 THE HORRORS OF WAR 

but had Miss Gault's presence in that train been 
suspected, no attacic would have been made — at the 
time." 

" I think better of you for that," said Brand cordially, 
" but why apologize to me ? " 

Gault drew himself up. " I make no apologies," he 
said ; " but your fighting is so magnificent, Mr. Harald- 
son, that I am anxious to treat you with consideration. 
Duels are not the less deadly for their punctilio." 

Brand laughed. "Any more confessions? I want 
my supper." 

" I think, Mr. Haraldson, that you won't require any. 
I only detained you because my arrangements were not 
complete for your demise. There is a deputation from 
the Liberators waiting for you outside ; but I found 
that, owing to the deliberate disobedience of one of my 
secretaries, there were no men guarding the back door 
or posted to intercept you by the shaft. I must beg 
you to excuse the omission." 

Brand had become very white ; for a moment he was 
concerned lest Gault should discover his terror ; but the 
next words of his enemy made him so angry that he 
forgot to be frightened. 

"Mr. Haraldson, isn't it time for you to surrender? 
Because you have profited by two or three almost 
miraculous escapes, you cannot suppose it possible to 
survive always. Have you any weapons to fight such 
power as mine? Deserted by your supposed friend, 
Straight, also by that ridiculous Colonel ; alone, without 
allies, except an absurd little preacher, without wealth, 
without influence, how can you possibly overthrow me .' 
Come, accept my mercy, freely offered to a brave but 
vanquished opponent. I offer you your life, your liberty, 
all the money you want, if you will accept a mere 
banishment." 



THE HORRORS OF WAR 



2'3 



« Phew I " Brand mopped his face with a handker- 
chief. " This room is stufly— let's go outside." 

"My car is waiting at the door. Come down to 
the pavemfri;i, Al r. Haraldson. I have only to raise my 
hand as a ignal and y,;> go free. Will you come .'" 

"To th (ioor of your car," said Brand, "but you 
needn't raijo y n- .'lanj unless I tell you." 

Gault hesitated. " No treachery ? " 

Brand laughed. "What chance should I have with 
a New York j ury if I murdered the great philanthropist .' " 

Brand opened the door for his adversary, and followed 
him closely through the vestibule. Mr. Gault held open 
the swinging glass door that led to the street, Brand 
acknowledging the courtesy with a bow. There across 
the glistening wet pavement was Gault's closed car, the 
chauffeur in his seat, the footman at the door, and on 
either hand were little groups of men barring the side- 
walk, evidently the Liberators awaiting Mr. Gault's 
signal to attack. The night was raw with blustering 
wind and rain. 

"Mr. Gault," said Brand, "send away that flunkey." 

The footman, offended, strode off and mounted the 
box. 

" Mr. Gault," Brand spoke in a very low tone, " get 
in out of the rain. I'll shut the door for you— don't 
lift your hand until I ask your mercy." 

Mr. Gault got into the car, grasping a revolver in his 
overcoat pocket for fear of treachery. 

" Drive Mr. Gault home," cried Brand to the chauffeur ; 
then, instead of closing the door, he jumped into the 
car as it moved off, and flung his arm round his 
adversary with a great hug lest he should attempt 
to draw a weapon. 

The Liberators, expecting Gault to drive away 
leaving Brand on the pavement, hung back astounded 



i liJ, 



214 



THE HORRORS OF WAR 



IK' ' 



— for their chance was gone. They could not fire 
now without risking the life of their own master. 

" Mr. Gault," Brand whispered, " we'll die together." 

Mr. Gault bit his lip, but he could not help laughing. 

" The ruse was clever," he said. Then, turning to a 
man who ran beside the carriage, he gave a sharp order. 
" Follow ! " 

The man shouted to the chauffeur and fell back. 

Already they were in Broadway, on either side the 
lighted offices, and the electric arcs sizzling blue over 
dodging, dripping umbrellas of crowds of passengers. 

" Give up your weapon," said Brand. 

" Certainly," was the reply. " It would not pay me to 
shoot you before witnesses. There's a revolver in my 
left pocket." 

Brand released Mr. Gault, seized the revolver, and, 
remembering Straight's warning not to commit himself 
by carrying one, stuffed it behind the cushions of the 
seat. He looked out, his hand ready on the door- 
latch, until he saw a policeman, one of the forty burly 
giants of the Broadway Squad. Then he yelled so 
that in astonishment the chauffeur stopped. 

" Help ! Help ! They're trying to murder Mr. Mar- 
shall Gault." He leaped out of the carriage, then 
rushing at the constable, seized him by the shoulder. 
A gust of wind seemed to sweep his words abroad. 
" Protect Mr. Gault ! " he cried, " till I bring assistance." 

There was a sharp report, and Brand felt a bullet 
whistle through his hair, then another shot shattered an 
electric-light globe overhead. 

The policeman swung round aghast, but Brand was 
gone, had butted through the crowd into a store — through 
it like a flash, and out into the street beyond, followed 
by a confused rabble of people. Straight was already 
calling off his Liberators. If they shot Brand now, he 



THE HORRORS OF WAR 



215 



explained, they need expect no mercy from the boss. 
At the street corner there was a police station ; and to 
this Brand ran, splashing up the puddles with the crowd 
at his heels. 

" Rouse out ! " he yelled, as he burst into the office, 
"they're assaulting Marshall Gault on Broadway!" 

" Is that so ? " The sergeant-in-charge started from 
his desk. 

" I guess he's right," gasped a breathless citizen, who 
had distanced the rest in pursui* 

" Take your men quick ! " Brand sank exhausted on 
to a bench. " I'll follow in a moment. Look here, I'm 
wounded. These others will show you the way." 

In a moment the station was deserted ; and Brand, 
staggering feebly out at the door, made his way through 
back alleys, mile after mile it seemed, before he gained 
the overhead railroad. How he got up the stairs he 
never knew, for the forgotten wound in his shoulder 
burst open, and already his strength was rapidly ebbing. 
His last memory was being helped by a conductor to 
board an up-town train. "The nearest hospital," he 
moaned, and fell senseless. 



" Put her into the Round House, Jim. She jumped 
it like a bird— killed Matt Fortescue though — her fifth 
man. So long, Jim— guess I'm to be the next. Be 
good to her." 

Brand opened his eyes to find a woman bending 
over him. " What, you here ! Oh, you're only— I— 
thought " 

He could not say another word, for he felt sick, 
horribly sick. 

" Oh, there's no fear," the night nurse was speaking to 
two porters ; " it's only the chloroform." 



2l6 



THE HORRORS OF WAR 



1 i 



The men went away with the empty stretcher, protest- 
ing that they would have preferred an elephant to 

c&rry« 

The nurse was about the bed, and Brand liked the 
cool flutter of her dress. 

" Say," he whispered ; " nurse 1 " 

" Lie still," was the gentle answer ; " you'll be better 
presently." She was won by Brand's comeliness. 

" It's gone off. I thought I'd be sick. I want to talk. 
I'll be quite good, nurse. Can you send a message to 
my friends? They don't know about this." 

The nurse sat down in a chair by the bed. " Who to ? 
I'll write a note if you like." 

"Thank you. I thought at first you were my own 
girl— you've eyes like hers, nurse. Call up Nisted, 780 

Avenue. Tell him Haraldson v/ants him." 

He could hear the scribble of a pencil on paper. 

" Thank you," he muttered, " I'm sleepy." 



The house-surgeon was sitting by the bed when Brand 
woke up. He looked at the smug, swarthy, blackavised 
man, disliked, distrusted him, closed his eyes to shut 
ou* the sight of him. 

'Well, Number Four, when did you get that 
wound ? " 

" Saturday." 

The surgeon noted the fact "How were you 
wounded ? " 

"Sharpening a pencil." 

" All right. Number Four. I'll see you in the morning. 
Nurse, do you know his name? 1 never saw such a 
magnificent animal. I wonder what he can lift when 
he's in training?" 

" I couldn't lift your cheek," said BranJ, wrathfuUy. 



THE HORRORS OF WAR 217 

" Humph— he'll do, nurse. What did you say his 
name is?" 

" Mr. Brand Haraldson," answered the nurse. 

" What, the Fighting Editor from the Wild West ? 
Say, Mr. Haraldson," the surgeon became polite all of a 
sudden, " anything I can do for you ? " 

" Yes," said Brand, " leave me alone." 



"Well, how's Number Four.'" 

Brand woke up with a start, rubbed his eyes, and 
opened them upon a large hospital ward. A flurry of 
autumnal snow had drifted against the windows during 
the morning, but the sashes were double, the air was 
warm, the place was cheerful with growing plants and 
flowers. The patients were silent now that the house- 
surgeon was making his morning visit ; burly men who 
had just stopped growling about not being allowed to 
smoke, and small men who had been pleading with the 
nurses for more breakfast. Only one or two, half im- 
mersed in "cradles" or stiff with splints, lay groaning; 
indeed, with few exceptions, these " surgical cases" were 
much less to be pitied than the overworked nurses who 
attended them. 

Brand snuggled his chin, all bristly for want of a 
shave, in the delicious clean sheets; and, with some- 
thing of his boyishness come back began to chaff the 
blackavised surgeon. 

" Number Four, eh ? Do you know, doc, that there's 
a store down town where they sell manners ? " 

"Come, none of your lip;" the surgeon grinned. 
" How's his temperature, nurse ? Going up, eh 1 Well, 
we must see to this. I guess I'll dress him." 

But even while he was consulting a chart that hung 
over the bed a porter came to him with a visiting card. 



2l8 



THE HORRORS OF WAR 



"Hullo, Mr. Fighting Editor, your 'boss' wants to 
see me. I'd better go down— some arrangement for 
your comfort, I guess." 

" Yes," Brand's eyes contracted with thought, " for my 
comfort I " 

Now that the surgeon was gone, a hum of conversa- 
tion pervaded the ward, and the nurse moved away to 
attend another patient. 

" For my comfort," he was thinking. " And here am 
I waiting the butcher's convenience like a sheep." For 
half-an-hour or so he lay brooding. "At least," he 
concluded, " I'm game for the last fight." 

They say that the spirit of a murdered man is earth- 
bound. Perhaps in the ruin of Brand's ambition there 
lay this one consolation that after death the work might 
be fulfilled in dreadful vengeance on his Master's enemy. 
And so this brave man waited in perfect faith for 
the end. 

No earthly aid could come, all that seemed past ; but 
what does life matter, after all, to the great spirits ready 
for service in this world or the next? So, when the 
house-surgeon came back. Brand greeted him — as he 
had greeted that other death last night, or any danger 
in times past— with the confident laugh of a man, the 
grace of a gentleman. He saw that the surgeon had 
brought instruments; he knew why. What a cur the 
thing was to murder a helpless man in his bed, pro- 
tected by the sanctity of the profession, armed with 
weapons more sure, more deadly, than the sword. 

"Well," said Brand, scanning the man's smug face 
with ill-concealed contempt. "I guess the boss is 
scared as to my fate?" 

"He was until I reassured him." The sui^eoi's 
laugh had a sinister sound for Brand. " He says you 
got wounded trying to save his life. Last night you 



THE HORRORS OF WAR 



219 



protected him again with," the surgeon smiled, " ' a zeal 
which outran your discretion ' ; but he's real glad that 
you're safe." 

Brand was amused at this, for he had left his enemy 
in a curious dilemma ; since, either Mr. Gau't must 
repudiate his story, and explain why the Fighting Editor 
had been shot at on leaving the carriage, or he must, 
accepting the lie for his own, confess to having enemies 
daring enough to attack in the public streets. Certainly, 
Brand's explanation was expedient; for, if Gault's 
trusted servant was so faithful, the murder could be 
safely done, then safely mourned, amid the commiseration 
of Gotham. 

The outlook was bad for Brand, with this surgeon, 
instructed by the great philanthropist as to his safety. 
He began talking against time — 

"Say, doctor, what did the boss say about that 
business last night? Was there any atttack?" 

" Attack i No, of course not. Why, after you were 
shot at, Mr. Gault was escorted home to his club by a 
posse of police and ten thousand citizens. You should 
see the morning papers ; why, they're just crazy about 
it. You're the hero of the day." 

" What about that big swindle case ? Yesterday we 
heard of nothing else. I wrote a screed myself in the 
Aven£^er." 

" Out of sight ; plumb forgotten. But come," he 
turned to his attendant, " I'll dress this case, nurse." 

" Hold on a minute, doc. How long will it be before 
I'm fixed up for business ? " 

" That depends." The surgeon began to cut loose the 
bandages from Brand's shoulder. 

" Say, doc, do you kno'.v your necktie's all crooked ? " 

" That's bunkum ; turn over a little. I want to take 
off this " 



320 THE HORRORS OF WAR 

Brand rolled flat on his back. "Suppose I refu'e, 
doctor?" 

" What do you mean ? " 

" I mean, doctor, that if you take off that bandage the 
blood will spurt worse than last night." 

" Nonsense. Come, you've got to obey orders." 

" Suppose I don't." 

" Then— out you go into the street" 

" That's all right, doctor ; fetch your ambulance." 

The doctor became sarcastic. 

" I guess you know more about surgery than I do." 

" I guess," Brand spoke almost in a whisper, " I know 
considerable more about crime." So saying, he made 
the sign of the Liberators, at which the surgeon's face 
became set. 

" Do you know what happens in Sing-Sing to doctors 
guilty of criminal malpractice ? Did you ever hear tell 
of electrocution ? " 

The surgeon rallied in desperation. " By , if you 

say another word, sir, I'll have you fired out of doors 
this instant. Will you submit to the regulations, or 
will you not?" 

" I tell you I'll leave the hospital." 

" You shall when it's safe to move you." 

So there was no escape. 

Brand looked up and down the ward. Yes, he must 
submit. 

"Come," .said the surgeon, roughly; "must I use 
force?" 

The door swung open ; a gentleman, attended by two 
nurses, entered the ward— a member of the Reformers' 
Club, Dr. Schmitt, honorary surgeon for the week, a 
director of the hospital. Help had come at last 

"Well?" said the house-surgeon. 

" Go to the devil ! " cried Brand. 



THE HORRORS OF WAR 221 

The surgeon, with a growl, rose from his chair ; and, 
starting to bring the porters who would compel obedi- 
ence, met Dr. Schmitt face to face. 

" A mutih JUS patient," he cried. " I've been insulted." 
So he launched into a storm of invective and protest. 

Now Brand, seeing that all eyes were fixed upon the 
two doctors, snatched away the set of instruments, hiding 
them in the bed. 

"What's this?" Dr. Schmitt came and sat down in 
the chair by the bedside. " My dear Mr. Haraldson, I'm 
sorry to see you in this plight ; but why defy our hospital 
regulations ? Dr. O'Brien tells me that " 

" My instruments ! " cried Dr. O'Brien. " He's a thief; 
he's stolen my instruments I " 

Dr. Schmitt rose from the chair. " Mr. O'Brien, as a 
director of this hospital, I must beg you to restrain your- 
self. Such language to a patient is really unpardonable." 

" But my instruments ; they were on the bed ! " 

" Mr. O'Brien, you will retire ; and do not re-enter this 
ward until you can control your temper." 

" Curse you ! The curse of on you I " 

So sayi J, the Irishman turned on his heel, and went 
down the ward muttering. At the door he looked back 
to fling at Brand some fearful anathema ; then, thrusting 
a nurse out of his way, went out. 

Dr. Schmitt mopped his face with a handkerchief. 

" What does this mean, Mr. Haraldson ? " 

" Sit down, doctor ; now draw up close, so that no one 
can overhear me. Do you remember what I undertook 
at the club?" 

"About Clewston?" 

" Yes. I am at war with Rex Clewston — come nearer 
—Clewston is Marshall Gault ! " 

" Impossible ! " 

"On Saturday he stabbed me. Last night he set 



aaa THE HORRORS OF WAR 

the Liberators to murder me ; you saw it in the morning 

papers?" 

•'A different version, eh? Mine is the truth. I escaped 
aeain : but the wound opened, so I was brought here. 
Mr. Clewston-Gault has just called ; told the surgeon to 
see to my comfort Wasn't he considerate ? 

" But surely Mr. O'Brien " ^ .u • i^ 

" U a member of the Liberators. I made their sign 
when I refused to let him touch me. He knew the sign ; 
but. like a fool, tried to bluster. When he went to you, 
I hid his instruments in the bed ; here they are for you 
to have examined. I guess they're poisoned, or he 
wouldn't have made all that fuss." 

" This is horrible, horrible ! " 

" Isn't there some poison he could put mto my wound 
tlial would make it worse? I've heard tell of cnmmal 

malpractice." . „^..^ ,„ 

"Yes" Dr. Schmitt fell to pondermg; there are 
micro.organisms-septic*mia, or, still more hornble, 
scptaimia. Only, except in a neglected wound, they 
would cause suspicion." 
" Mine is a neglected wound." 
« I'll have this tested ; give me the instruments. 
" Here you are 1 " Brand delivered up his spoil. But 
I've not done. Mr. Clewston-Gault daren't let me live, 
especially after this ;. he'll use poison, I know the gentle- 
man too well to doubt. Nothing can save mc if I stay 
in a public hospital; so I must be where I can test my 
food on a dog before I eat any." 
" Nonsense I " „ 

" I want to be fired out for a mutinous patient. 
" But where can you go ? " 
•• To the Club ; although I'd hate to have Father Jared 

mixed up in this." 



THE HORRORS OF WAR 



333 



"I have it," said Dr. Schmitt. "Since, with these 
absurd notions in your head, you will never get well, I'll 
have you expelled," he clasped the patient's hand ; "and 
my hoRie is at your service." 

So ended the hospital experience of House-Surgeon 
O'Brien, who is supposed to have migrated to the 
Western States. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 



:| I 



MOBILIZING 

When Brand had sent the police to the rescue of 
Mr. Gault, he would hardly have escaped the gang of 
men assembling, but that Straight called them off to 
a neighbouring saloon, where he explained that, having 
roused the whole city, they had better disperse to their 
homes. If any of them were caught, he said, assaultmg 
the fugitive, the Boss was hardly in a position now to 
shield them from the law. He himself, unable to trace 
Brand, returned to the Club, where he made some 
pretence of going to roost. 

At midnight he called at Father Jared's room, found 
the priest in bed, but sleepless, and proceeded to give 
him an hour's entertainment, which resulted in a 
prolonged bout of prayer and insomnia. Cautiously, 
little by little, he unfolded the mystery of the Cyclone 
Explosives Syndicate, his secretaryship of the Liberators, 
his secret connection with the British Government. 

" I knew of the secretaryship," said the priest, "yes, 
long ago. Brand told me. But 1 didn't know," he 
clasped Straight's hand, "that you were serving my 

country." 

"You knew me as your country's enemy? And yet 
to Christianity such as yours it made no difference ! " 

" None whatever, Dick." 

" Ah, sir, I've always felt a cowardly sneak thrusting 
334 



MOBILIZING 



»»i 



myself upon you. A man who does my work profanes 
the company of good men. I— Ml go away." 

" Sit down, Dick. I was only sorry that you should 
have known me so long, yet never trusted me." 

"Father, for twenty years I have led this double life. 
I should have been shot in the first week if I had not 
held my tongue. You don't despise me? " 

" Who am I that I should judge I But now you must 
give me your whole confidence. Trust me, and go on 
with your story." 

So Straight told Father Jared how "Dr. Clewston" 
was Marshall Gault in disguise ; he related the tragedy 
of the train-wrecking ; the story of the fall of the King 
Lme ; the price that Miss Hilda had paid for the sake 
of her poor; her present peril as Gault's aflfianced wife. 
And, as he poured out revelation upon revelation he 
saw how the priest was moved, he knew what a faithful 
ally he was winning for the quest of Miss Hilda's 
rescue, for the campaign against this visionary— this 
King of the New World. So he spoke of Gault's panic 
methods of attack, of Brand's plan, the Colonel's co- 
operation, his own enthusiasm. 

"Look here," he said angrily, producing a letter 
received that day from London, " the Home Office has 
sacked me from the service for incompetence in not 
preventing at all hazards, the loss of our Transatlantic 
trade Ah, well, I am a free man now, safe from their 
blundermg officialdom. We'll show them how to fight- 
Brand, the Colonel, and I." 

"And I," said the priest soberly. "Why have you 
left me out ? Am I so old, so useless, that I am not to 
be allowed to strike one blow ? " 

"No, Father, not that ; but we have kept you out of 
danger until now because it would be a poor campaign 
that nsked the general's life in the first skirmishing" 



226 



MOBILIZING 



The compliment was deftly administered. 
" We want you to take command." 
The priest was irritated. "Words, man, words- 
slighting words at that. So I am to carry the baton, 
and parade the cocked hat while you do the fighting." 

" I run the attack upon the Liberators, the Colonel is 
preparing our weapons, Brand is to lead the assault ; but 
we three are supposed to be at mutual enmity ; we dare 
not be seen talking to one another, or caught writing 
letters. It is only through you that we can keep 
communications open. So take command." 

" Dick," the priest relented, " I'm sorry I spoke like 
that. Of course, you selfish youngsters claim all the 
fighting ; but 1 shall find work enough without that. 
Tell me how I can help." 

" Well, first," said Straight cheerfully, " may I smoke ? 
Thank you, sir." He lit a cigarette. " You can call on 
Brand, because Gault would be suspicious if you kept 
away ; you can send letters to the Colonel through your 
little friend Thompson, who, as Alarm Doctor, has 
access to the Safe Deposit block. 

"Now, as to the Colonel. Of course, the electric- 
cookery business is good enough to gull the public, but 
it's too stupid to blind a man like Gault So far, his 
delicate attentions have been bestowed upon Brand, 
because the Colonel seems to him hardly worth interfer- 
ing with ; but sooner or later, Gault, for want of some- 
thing better to do, will amuse himself at the expense of 
our printing works. We must surround the building 
with guards. 

" Observed ? Oh, there are plenty of loafers in Broad- 
way, so five, more or less, makes no difference. Of 
course, it would be fatal to trust the City Police, or any 
private detectives. Five men on duty with three reliefs 
makes fifteen ; four in barracks for emergencies and one 



MOBILIZING 227 

•aptain brings the number to twenty. Can you provide 
so many ? " '^ 

"I'll call out my Knights Errant, ask twenty 
volunteers, and you shall have a hundred and fifty to 
select from." 

" I must not appear, sir," said.Straight. " Take care 
that there are no spies in the lobby. Who shall be 
captain ? " 

"Old John Baxendale," said the priest, "the man who 
saved a sinking ferry by plugging the leak with his 
body IS just the kind of captain that my boys will 
trust." 

"And I too. Will he accept two hundred a 
month ? " 

" He'll work for love, Dick, but some of our guard will 
want money to keep themselves." 

"I don't want men for love, sir; they must be paid 
so that we can boss them around. OlTer Baxendale two 
hundred, and the rest a hundred a month." 

" But the money, Dick. I haven't a dollar." 

"I have," said Straight. "When I was Fighting 
Editor before Brand came, I was in a position to know 
where to speculate; made about fifty thousand in the 
last three months. If we succeed I can do without my 
savings," he sighed, then pretending it was a yawn, "if 
we fail, well, I won't need money any more." 

The priest frowned, for he disliked this kind of talk 
As he once observed to Brand : « If I were a life insur- 
ance agent I should choose for my prey the man who 
croaks on death." 

"Father." said Straight, "you think in the Middle 
Ages— I live there." 

" What do you mean, Dick ? " 

For answer Straight took off his coat, waistcoat, and 
linen shirt, disclosing underneath these a tunic of chain 
y 2 



„8 MOBILIZING 

„.ail. •• Looks sensational, doesn't it ? You dis^ke this 
worse than my remark about death. But »« here. 
Fat"«-and here-and here." he PO«'t«l out dents in 
Ae rines "these are bullet marks, which I value more 
San medal No. ifs not steel, but a "ronze ch.lled by 
one o^the new processes, proof against anythmg short 
orthe latest miUUry rifles. Of =°«^;» * *°° ""^ 
fortable except on occasions like y^f'f j;- ^1^^,f ^^ 
discomfort to-the other thmg. And now -he sat 
down again, a queer figure for the opening years of the 
twrntiefh century-" I want to explain one other matter. 
Brandtinks i^very bad luck to be lying wounded m 
hospital when he wants to be out on the rampage; but 
Se Sh is that nothing better could have happened. 
Matters were getting a little strained at the office, 
fndeed Ihad been planning an -angement for gettmg 
Lm out of the way until the time comes for action. Of 
course he thinks this collapse a fatal disaster. 
" That." said the priest. " is natural, 
xie Lk had long ago struck two. ^ was now n^ 
wardly perturbed with its arrangements for striking 
ThrSand^ Straight wondered how long he would take 
to Tummon up'courage for a matter which must be 
submitted to the priest. 

"T can't sleep these nights," he said, wearily 
Father J ared looked up from the Bible, which he had 
hppn oretendine to read while he prayed. 

« Nor ?■ waf his answer. " This is no time for sleep 

It seems almost providential that now when our matter 

^m"g to a crisis, everything points to a pending 

Llaration of war by the whole reform party. The 

Srm Tape« Z mLing say that we lack only one 

%";ShtShrirontS: "A leader. We have 
..^^T-the folU>wer is the extinct species now-a-days. 



MOBILIZING 



229 



The papers are hanging out straws to test the wind, 
which blows towards Saint Clewston-Gault. 

"As to Miss Gault," continued the spy, "you see her 
avoidance of Brand is invaluable because it keeps her 
out of mischief until we can strike. The trouble is that 
she will go and make friends because he's wounded." 

"And why not?" said the priest, sternly. "Why 
keep them apart?" 

" You misjudge me, sir 1 " 

" No, I do not misjudge. You love Miss Gault ; but, 
Dick, ever since you made that confession to me, I have 
felt, without knowing why, that there was an impassable 
barrier between you two. To-night I know at last what 
that barrier is ; why instinctively she always shrank from 
you. Be brave, man, England claims no half allegiance 
of you, she must have all or noni.. Until Gault and his 
Liberators are entirely overthrown neither you nor Brand 
have any right to love, or hope to marry. Face the 
facts, man — which of you has Hilda chosen?" 

Straight hid his face. 

" Poor lad, I can't bear to see you tortured. You are 
the bravest mar. of all my knights ; I am very old, yet 
have not seen courage like yours on earth; you must 
not fail us now. 

" You need much strength to be loyal to England, and 
still Brand's faithful friend, even though he has robbed 
you of all you hoped for in the world." 

" Father," the man spoke hurriedly in a broken voice, 
"again 1 say you've misjudged me. I don't want to 
stand between them — I know I'm a beastly coward, but 
not so bad as that. I must ask you not to let them 
meet, because if they meet now they never will again ; 
they'll never live to see Gault smashed, because he'll kill 
them. To save them, keep them apart, and so long as 
they remain apart we have Gault off his guard." 



CHAPTER XXIX 



i ! 



THE DRAGON AT PLAY 

Haraldson had fallen among thieves, or worse, when 
that good Samaritan, Dr. Schmitt, found him by the 
wayside of life, and took him to a little paradise called 
home. The home of Dr. Schmitt in Brooklyn was 
American in its exquisite cleanness and refinement, his 
wife was American in her personal beauty, her charm of 
character, her unquestioned rule over a perfectly ordered 
household. Her children were American, too, in their 
independence, their joyous impudence, alert intellect, 
unconscious loveliness — and of such is the Kingdom of 
Heaven. As to Mrs. Schmitt's domestic servants, they 
evidently hailed from the other place. 

To the day of his death Haraldson will never forget 
how kind these people were to him in his suffering. 

He was not lonely ; rather Dr. Schmitt became 
anxious because of the too numerous .riends whom the 
patient insisted on seeing — to wit, good old Mrs. Papps 
from the Club loaded with night-shirts, handkerchiefs, 
and a thing called a "jell," which the Schmitts furtively 
destroyed. Mr. Papps came, stealing a brief half-hour 
from his endless errands, a number of the Club members, 
and all the Avenger staff, particularly the night editor. 
Brand's ever-faithful ally. Messrs. Vanslyperken and 
and Schneidam called with flowers sent by their wives, 
in fact, to his astonishment. Brand found that in six 
months he had made enough friends for a lifetime. 
230 



THE DRAGON AT PLAY 



231 



Every morning, too, came Father Jared ; except when 
he was receiving friends his day was passed with the 
children of the house, who thought that he had been 
invented expressly for their amusement; all night he 
slept the sleep of the just. From hour to hour he bore 
the pain of " healthy granulation," as the doctor called 
it, seeming to enjoy this as part ot the game ; gained 
strength with every meal ; insisted on " taking exercise " 
with long walks up and down his room contrary to 
orders; in fact. Brand was at once the worst and the 
best of patients, because he disobeyed orders on general 
principles, while he got well at a rate which confounded 
all established rule or precedent in such cases made and 
provided. 

Nothing happened worth noting, since Mr. Gault 
was evidently disgusted at the clumsiness of mere 
agents in a matter which required his close personal 
attention. 

Long before he was well, Mr. Haraldson demanded 
clothes, and, from Mr. Schneidam, an ample supply of 
pocket-money. Still he was not satisfied; but must 
have five quires of quarto paper, pencils, and a writing- 
board, to play with in default of the children, who had 
gone out of town with their n.other. All the second 
week he was busy writing; then, on the sixteenth 
morning of his illness. Father Jared carried away tlie 
manuscript for delivery, per Alarm Doctor express, to 
Colonel Giggleswick— a complete narrative of Brand's 
inquiries in re Mr. Clewston-Gault. 

What with Brand, Straight, the Colonel, and Captain 
Baxendale's corps of guards, the good old priest was 
nearly run off his legs ; but still, in the afternoons, would 
find time to take tea with the least exacting cf mortals. 
Miss Hilda Gault. He had told her everything; and 
she, poor soul, lived now in a state of suspense to which 



333 



THE DRAGON AT PLAY 



any torture would have been preferable. Rather than 
excite suspicion, she received Gault's advances with 
many signs of favour, led him to believe that she was 
reconciled to her impending marriage, and managed, 
during a voluntary luncheon at the Avenger office, to 
get the wedding postponed from December 3rd to 
December loth, on the plea that her dressmaker would 
not be ready. 

On the loth of December she was to be married to Mr. 
Gault ; there could be no further excuses for delay ; she 
was too brave to endanger her friends by cries for help ; 
she could not run away, because she was in honour 
bound to keep the compact made for the sake of her 
poor. She could not see Brand, because she was sup- 
posed to have finally dismissed him on her engagement. 
Gault's ring was tight upon her finger, ar ' could not be 
taken off. 

While she despaired, the priest was sanguine; but 
what hope was there that Brand, lying in bed helpless, 
could overthrow his tremendous enemy within fifteen 
days? 

Such hope as had fluttered into existence while the 
priest was with her, gave place, in his absence, to quiet, 
confirmed despair. Yet she would, at least, enjoy what 
little consolation there was to be had in a visit to the 
hospital, where Brand had been lying after the last fight 
The nurses knew her well; because her perhaps mis- 
guided charity had been extended, not to the institutions, 
or to the patients, but to the neglected ladies who spent 
their best years slaving in the wards. Hilda had sent 
easy-chairs for these white slaves to rest in, novels and 
magazines to amuse them, many little comforts to 
brighten their lives; indeed, every hospital in New York 
was full of friends who loved her. So she received a 
warm welcome at the institution where Brand had been 



THE DRAGON AT PLAY 233 

an inmate ; and, after a perfunctory call on the matron, 
was carried away by a score of nurses to their own 
parlour, where they gave her tea. Of course, they all 
talked " nineteen to the dozen," entertaining their guest 
with endless « shop," and all the gossip— how the matron 
was a tyrannous, spiteful old cat ; what the home sister 
said when she snubbed the cook ; why the last new 
" pro." dosed a poor patient with carbolic ; when Nurse 
Kunz would bring the now house-surgeon up to the 
scratch. 

Hilda felt quite happy for a time ; but, when the talk 
fell back upon the iniquities of the late house-surgeon, 
she listened with strained attention. The nurse who 
had been present on the occasion of the big man's 
mutiny was put forward to tell her tale, and very shy 
she was in the presence of the benefactress, having but 
little experience yet of gteat town ladies. She would 
rather have talked of her father's brindled cow, the 
"coallies," as she called her father's dogs, or the beauti- 
ful vineyards on the Niagara River, where she had been 
" raised," the thousand-dollar team of chestnut roadsters, 
and all the dear delights of the place called home. 
Hilda went with her to a bedroom up-stairs, a bare, 
small attic in the mansard roof, praised the old folks' 
photographs— such stiff, angular caricatures to admire— 
and, in due time, her patience was so far rewarded that 
the little woman forgot to be afraid. What exquisite 
flowers are " raised " on those homely farms, what shy, 
sweet maids sent to the cruel cities to be bruised I Yet 
it is only in the crowded forest that the great trees grow. 
And the city lady, always ready to forget hT own 
sorrows in bearing the burdens of others, found that the 
country maid was fretting about some silly young person 
of the other sex, who had done something foolish after 
his kind. Hilda's heart seemed broken past repair, the 



334 



THE DRAGON AT PLAY 



M\\ 



maid's was only damaged ; what could be more natural 
than to send the poor child back to her nursing com- 
forted, refreshed, strengthened by the winning of a great 
strong friend ? Hilda had no time to ask about Brand'a 
wound ; but perhaps it was better so, since, if she gained 
an inkling of the truth, the story of Gault's desperate 
crime, attempted against a sick man, would have been 
fearful news to brood over during the last preparations 
for marriage. Even a brave woman's endurance has iu 
limits. 

For two weeks nothing had happened worthy of more 
than passing mention, only the still air was lurid with 
distant lightning, men's minds were darkened with fore- 
bodings, the shadow of coming events hung dark over 
the western metropolis. On the Stock Exchange there 
was uneasiness without apparent cause, rumours ran 
wild in the market, the most daring speculators were 
superstitious enough to hedge, prices rose only to sud- 
denly fall, hopes leaped up to die, the sea of human 
endeavour was troubled. Mr. Gault, looking down 
from the windows of his office, imagined that his present 
peuce was like the calm of the vortex ; that the cyclone 
had only reeled away to bend upon its course and strike 
again. From what quarter of the compass would it fall 
—how was the peril to be met? In some indefinable 
wa" he supposed that the recent tempest had affected 
his' power ; that the chains of his authority were loosen- 
ing ; that acquaintances were falling away, satellites 
flaunting brave airs of independence. The lonely man 
was more alone than ever— who, with all his gigantic 
power could not win a decent woman's love or a man's 
friendship ; but somehow his very solitude invested him 
with a certain majesty. Of course, it is very wicked to 
set up as a demi-god— the paths of Tamarlane and 
Alaric are strewn with corpses— but Gault was not 



THE DRAGON AT PLAY 235 

bloody, as conquerors go, he was above the stage acces- 
sories of empire, the tawdry, gore-stained properties of 
Old World usurpers. There was a certain divinity that 
hedged this king who leigned unrecognized, unknown, 
grim, strong, infernal, a master of men by force of 
genius. 

Hilda had left him after luncheon ; he felt lonely now 
—he wanted to amuse himself for once. Human souls 
were his toys, too fragile most of them— who was there 
for an hour's sport, game enough to be diverting ? He 
went down to the eighth floor, and called on Dick 
Straight of the Liberators. 

The suave man received him with just a lifting of one 
eyebrow, by way of astonishment at this unprecedented 
event What did Gault want ? What devilry possessed 
him now ? 

The great man accepted a chair, he actually con- 
descended to select a cigar. " Hope I'm not disturbing 
you, Mr. Straight f' 

"By no means." Straight sat down at his desk, a 
curious smile curling his thin lips, while with his long 
white fingers he began to play with the lid of an inkstand 
in front of him. " It is a great honour, sir, for you to 
call on me I " 

As Mr. Gault lighted his cigar very carefully, and as 
he put the smoking match into an ash-tray, his heavy 
jaws were relaxed with an unusually amiable smile. 

" Mr. Straight," he .said with much suavity, " you will 
perhaps remember the day when you left my Fighting 
Editorship for the dull grind of the Cyclone Explosives' 
Secretariat." 

"A matter," suggested Straight, " concerning "—he 
fiddled with the inkstand, " Mr. Haraldson, I think ? " 

" Yes. I suggested, if you remember, that he should 
be subjected to certain moral tests." 



33^ 



THE DRAGON AT PLAV 



" In fact corrupted, until you could use him as your 
tool." 
" Quite so." 
"For which service you offered twenty thousand 

dollars?" .^ ^ ^ ,. 

« Although one would think, Mr. Straight, that the 
consideration is a mere bagatelle, not worthy of your 
gracious acceptance." 

Mr. Straight poised the inkstand between finger and 
thumb, as though weighing it ; at which the great man 
became irritable. ^_ 

" For goodness' sake," he growled, " stop fiddlmg. 

" Forgive me," said Straight, " I'm so sorry I annoyed 
you." He went on fiddling. "You will remember that 
some time ago I told you, sir, that I had by my first 
endeavour excited so much suspicion— I was careless— 
that Mr. Haraldson refused any further dealings with 
me. Two weeks ago, after he discovered the ventilator 
shaft, I— assisted by our men and following your explicit 
directions— made an attempt upon his life, which failed." 

"Because," said Mr. Gault, blandly, "at the one 
moment, near the police station, when he was in your 
power you suddenly drew off your forces." 

" Certainly. Since you had by that time accepted my 
pursuit of Mr. Haraldson as directed against you, any 
further attempt meant capital punishment for me. ^ The 
consideration was to be in cash— not e'-^ctrocution." 

Mr. Gault bowed. "I am deeply touched, Mr. 
Straight, by this expression of your confidence in my 
good faith." 

Thank you, sir, don't mention it"— he put down the 
inKstand to roll and light a cigarette. " On that occasion 
I saved his life ; now to be frank, it was his discovery of 
my connection with the Liberators— an accident— which 
had made him my enemy. By saving his life I made 



THE DRAGON AT PLAY 



237 



him my friend again, and he now," Straight smiled, " has 
the utmost confidence in me. You will remember that 
my original instructions were to prove myself his friend, 
then at some critical moment to break his heart with my 
personal treachery." 

"Well?" 

" I am about to do so." 

"How?" 

" That, sir, I will explain, but first I must remind you 
that my motive is hard cash. I have made fifty thousand 
dollars by speculation while I have been in your service. 
I want more in order to retire from this Liberator 
business, which is too risky. I have a fancy for South 
Africa. Now twenty thousand would be useful ; but I 
think this matter might be better arranged. Of course, 
you are aware that Colonel Giggleswick, with all his 
pretended hostility to Haraldson, is actually his 
servant" 

"Eh.'" 

" Is actually his servant, paid to set up type for a 
pamphlet to be published, laying bare the secret motives 
and methods of the Avenger" 

"Of course." 

" Your present methods of attack are ridiculed by both 
Haraldson and the Colonel. You are playing into their 
hands." 

" Thanks. What do you suggest ? " 

"To suspend the work. My charge will be one 
hundred thousand." 

" Indeed. What are your plans .' " 

" Is my service as their trusted friend and counsellor 
worth the money .' " 

" It is. You say you fancy South Africa ? A good 
country — a very good country." 

"Well, as to my plans — first, cnbehalf of the Colonel. 



ts« 



THE DRAGON AT PLAY 



Do/ou know anything about the ' Dark and Secret Band 
ofFirebugi'?" 

Gault smiled. 

" I've heard of them." 

" Some of their methods of arson are very clever." 

" You want to try them on the Colonel i " 

" What do you think, sir i " 

"Hum I" , „ J . 

" And as to Haraldson ; you are especially desirous, 
Mr. Gault, that Mr. Haraldson should not be present 
on the 3rd of December next?" 

" As to that, my marriage is postponed until December 
loth, but you guess my wishes exactly." 

Straight smiled with an upward glance of his deep 

eyes. 

" The day after to-morrow, that is the 27th instant, 
the Giant liner GeliaJk sails for Europe. On board of her 
we have placed an infernal machine of the new design, 
for a practical test in view of the intended destruction of 
all British shipping that passes the Suez Canal." 

He spoke slowly, incisively. 

" Lower your voice," said Mr. Gault 

Straight leaned forward. " Suppose," he said, " that 
I send Mr. Haraldson as a passenger by the Goliah?" 

" But how ? He distrusts you, surely." 

"Suppose that Mr. Haraldson were" to hear of Miss 
Gault's departure for Europe .' " 

" He would no more believe your story than I do. 
It's too thin, Mr. Straight. Besides, leaving on the 25th 
for Liverpool, he could be back in New York by the 
loth." 

"If he survives," said Straight. "Meanwhile, Mr. 
Haraldson, being your rival," he sneered, "naturally 
believes that she hates you— expects her to run away." 

" You have been indicating as much ? " 



THE DRAGON AT PLAY 



239 



" I have." 

"Ingenious — ^very ingenious. Mr. Stnlght, you will 
place me under a lasting obligation." 

Thus Mr. Gault enjoyed his hour's diversion with a 
human souL 



CHAPTER XXX 

THE DRAGON'S VICTORY 

Brand was asleep ; deep in the dreamless rest that 
comes before the dawn ; about as hard to awake as 
living man could be; utterly oblivious of the little 
pebbles that from time to time rattled agamst the 
window. It was only when a larger stone shattered 
the glass that he awakened with a start, sat up m bed, 
felt the keen winter wind streaming into the room, 
and dimly realized that something had gone wrong. 
Throwing the quilt about his shoulders he got up to 
examine the broken pane, stumbled upon a stone, at 
which he swore, came near cutting his bare feet with 
broken glass, raised the sash and leant out, to enquire 
of the elements generally what the deuce was the 
matter. 

"Whist!" came a rich whisper from the garden. 
"Hope I ain't disthurbing you, sorr, but the first 
pebbles was too small, your honour— the last was 
the laste bit too cumbersome. Are ye wakin', Mr. 
Haraldson ? " 

" Who the devil are you ? " 

" It's me, sorr— lastewise Larry Byrne that's spaking 
to ye— with a letter from Mr. Straight if ye'U jest 
come down to the door— and whist, or ye'U be wakin 
the house entirely." _ 

" I'll come down," said Brand. So closing the window 
240 



THE DRAGON'S VICTORY 241 

he dressed hurriedly and descended the echoing stair- 
ways As it happened Dr. Schmitt was away watching 
by the bedside of a friend; his son was in the back 
room fast asleep, the servants up in the attic dreaming 
It was time for the alarm clock. Brand opened the 
front door an inch or so on the chain and looked out 
cautiously, fearing treachery. Outside there was a 
porch, from whence there could be seen nothing save 
ram and wmdy darkness, except where the east was 
just chilled with the grey of dawn. 

" Where are you. Larry ? " 

" Here. sorr. and this »— a letter was thrust in through 

II " 24/i November, 190—. 

"Dear Brand.— Can you trust me absolutely? A 
pIoL has been concocted to decoy you on board the 
(^oliah, which leaves to-morrow before noon for Liver- 
pool. If you refuse to go nothing can save me. if you 
consent all will be well for both of us. Larry Byrne 
who bears this note, will tell you the rest. Take passage 
M John G. Richardson, and trust me. To leave the ship 
before she sails will be suicide. 

" Yours in perfect good faith. 

"Richard Straight." 

" Av ye plaze. sorr." Larry broke in. " I've an illigant 
carriage m the strate. and will ye be plazed. says Mislher 
btraight, to come quick, because the ship is laving first 
thing in the morning." 

^n?^* ll' '^''f- ^l"^"'" '*''' ^'^"'^> e'*""g at the mes- 
«nger with no little suspicion. Then he looked towards 

^Ja I 8'""'"«"ng 'an'Ps of a carriage drawn up 
outside the gate. "What's your news?" 



242 THE DRAGON'S VICTORY 

"Only, sorr, that Miss Gault has been Wdn»PP«! 
overnight by the 'boss/ and she's aboord the Gohak 
that's clearing for Liverpool at the flood. Ye should 
have axed me that first to save t.me. sorr, but .f ye 
stand Ulkin', sorra bit of stamer ye 11 catch at all. 

.■Can 1 trust Straight?" Brand was wondering. 
"Yes-absolutely. for if he is t™%f ;°«! .^'"' *"^ 
if he fails the game is at an end." He felt h.s clothe.. 
Yes. he had money in his pocket, so that \as»ll right 
He scribbled a note for Dr. Schmitt. which he left m 
the hall. Dressed in a suit of grey tweed that, since 
his wound, hung loose as though rigged °° »f *^1*°^ ^ 
a cloth cap. slippers, and the collar of his night-shirt 
by way of adornment, he came out into the wintry 
night, shut the front door behind him. and departed for 

^"' Lany. you imp." said Brand, when the carnage 
began to nimble down the street, "why this sudden 

*"«s2e.trrdidn'1ez let me out of that scrape in 

^«,?^lfr:Va*n^;o':'desen,ed. you little bU^^^^^^^^ 
"Sure you never let on to Misther Sthra.ght when I 

cave the Liberators dead away in his office. 

"^^ Well. Larry. 1 bear no gnidges; but there's any 

treachery in this business I'll plug you full of holes 
Larry grinned, and for some time there was silence m 

*?.S? »id Larry, at las, "Mr. Straight told me 
to sav to yez that ye must go on boord and ax the 
pur^ei: ia'passage Ls been taken for Miss Gau t. 
her name's on the list ye must secure a berth at once 
under the name of John G. Ri<=h"dson 

The day broke as the carriage was climbing the long 
apprtche's of the Brooklyn Bridge. Grey and colossal 



THE DRAGON'S VICTORY 



243 



rose the towers ahead, toward which the cables sprang 
upwards into thin air; below was the river splashed 
here and there with lights ; beyond the city black against 
a rainy violet-coloured sky. From the top of the bridge 
one could see the metropolis ranging away for miles on 
either hand, and in the midst of it the glare of a burning 
house. 

" Say, Larry, what's that fire ? " 

" Only the Safety Deposit block," was the indifferent 
answer ; at which Brand lay back in the seat, his hands 
deep in his pockets, the cap down over his eyes. 

So Gault had destroyed his type-setting works at 
last ! After all, what did it matter ?— himself exiled, the 
Colonel burnt out, Gault more powerful than ever. Was 
Straight's unexplained stratagem some poor forlorn 
device to save his life now that there was nothing left to 
hope for ? 

Nothing matters much — conquerors, like Gault, rise 
up out of the crowd, do a little mischief or even a little 
good, then the wheels roll over them, and Time drives 
on. World-capitals rise up amid the crowd of cities — 
Babylon, Rome, London, New York, and the next place 
afterwards ; but men will be grubbing for their ruins in 
ploughed fields— presently. Planets come to their 
fruition like this earth, or the one before or the one 
after, bearing humanities, animal, or vegetable, or maybe 
spiritual, to sin, to be forgiven, then to die in their sin. 
Celestial clouds float by in the great darkness, condens- 
ing into stars countless as rain-drops, only to burn out 
and dry up into wreaths of dust. Perhaps the whole 
business may be worthy of a line in the Master's day 
book— probably not. What does it all matter ? 

Yet for a moment there is something which we all 
want in our loneliness— love ; and Brand loved Hilda 
Gault. But would she be in the ship ? 



w:^\ 






244 THE DRAGON'S VICTORY 

When he got on board the great steamer, the purser 
told him that, although Miss Gault had not yet come on 
board, her name appeared on his list of passengers. As 
Mr. Richardson he booked a first-class passage for 
Liverpool. 

" Mr. John G. Richardson ? " asked the purser. 

Brand glanced at his letter. 

" I guess so." 

He was turning away. 

"Your change?" said the purser, shifting wearily at 

his desk. 

" Much obliged." Brand pocketed the money. " I d 
forgotten." 

" Will you be shown to your berth ? Any instruc- 
tions as to luggage ? " The purser yawned sleepily, for 
he had worked all night. 

« Luggage ? " said Brand, absently ; " what's luggage ? 
The word was new to him. " Oh, you mean baggage ; 
yes, mine's following. Berth? I'm busy now— I'll 
come back." He turned to Larry. "Now, imp, take 
me whsre I can sit down and watch the people arriving." 

" Right amidships, sorr, on the hurricane deck. Ye 
can see the gangway from there, plain as me face." 

The Irish sailor led. Brand following up a gorgeously- 
appointed stairway, and through a gallery overiooking 
the dining-room. Above was a dome of stained glass ; 
below, among the tables, sat cheerful passengers com- 
forting forlorn groups of their friends. Here there was 
peace"; but all the stairs and gangways of this floating 
hotel swarmed with stewards carrying portmanteaux, 
deck-chairs, rugs; bewildered people asking silly 
questions, bored officers resenting the inquisition; 
women crying, right in everybody's way ; while the 
air was filled with a babel of advice about sea- 
sickness, farewells, messages, and frantic mourning over 



THE DRAGON'S VICTORY 245 

effects mislaid. But, at last, Brand was conducted to 
the comparative quietude of the smoking-room, where a 
few hardened travellers waited peaceably for the end ; 
and there Larry would have the big man rest, while he 
himself braved the rain and the cold wind, watching 
arrivals. 

Brand looked down at the quaint little sailor man with 
his merry, greenish grey eyes almost hidden by a peaked 
officer's cap— his alert ferret-like face half ambushed by 
the tumed-up collar of his pilot jacket. Could he be 
trusted ? No. 

"Larry. I may as well have 'luggage,' as that man 
called It." He took out his pocket-book and jotted 
down some memoranda; then, tearing out the leaf, 
"Take this to a general outfitter— the stores are open 
by now— and tell him to send a man with a few over- 
coats to choose from, and these things of the sizes I've 
noted, in a valise. I'll pay on delivery." 

Larry hesitated. •• Sure, sorr, I'll be wanting money 
for a carriage, or it's too late I'll be entoirely." He did 
not intend to return, but expected a tip for his services. 

" Little man," said Brand, " trot along, or you'll be too 
late to get your pay for this morning's work." 

Lairy went, grumbling ; and Brand made his way out 
on the hurricane deck, where he found shelter under the 
lee of a boat, whence he might watch the gangways or 
Hilda's coming. The trouble of the past few we. ks 
had made him patient, and yet— and yet. One must 
needs have courage waiting while Fate dawdles over her 
loom, weaving slow, indolent shuttles of life and death 
through the lax warp of Time. 

Brand read Straight's letter again— knew by certain 
marks arranged between them that it was no forgery. 
No doubt as to his friend's good faith ever entered his 
mmd ; but now that he had time to think, the story of 



246 



THE DRAGON'S VICTORY 



Miss Gault's supposed o.bduction seemed more and more 
absurd. Larry had talked airily, as though in his 
master's confidence, the purser who had shown him the 
passenger list might have been instructed to do so ; if 
Gault had really planned kidnapping he would have had 
the decency to send Barbara, the maid, in attendance ; 
and, above all. Miss Gault had not come on board. As a 
ruse to decoy him away, the story seemed plausible 
enough. Who had designed such a ruse? Certainly 
not Straight, but very possibly Gault. Was Gault at 
the bottom of this intrigue, with Straight for an unwilling 
agent ? 

So for hours Brand stood watching the gangway- 
waiting, wondering. Despite the partial shelter, he was 
chilled by the wintry wind, and not a little wet with 
the occasional gusts of rain. More than one friendly 
fellow-passenger lounged by, suggesting to him that a 
cap, a light tweed suit, and slippers was hardly the 
costume for such a blustering day ; and even people at 
the wharf-shed doors would comment from time to time 
upon such reckless defiance of the weather. Brand 
heard little of that — cared nothing ; but his wounds 
were hurting desperately ; he could scarcely think, 
while more than ever it seemed of vital necessity 
for him to understand what had happened. 

At last the ship vibrated to the blast of a steam siren, 
warning all whom this might concern that the warps 
would be cast off in thirty minutes. The stewards were 
busy sending visitors ashore and receiving belated pas- 
sengers ; the wharf men were at their stations awaiting 
orders ; the captain and pilot were gravely pacing the 
bridge ; the ensign fluttered from the head of its staff ; the 
gangways were being hauled down ; chains were drawn 
across the wharf-house doors to keep back the crowd. 

Brand realized at last that Straight must have con- 



THE DRAGON'S VICTORY 247 

spfred with Gault for his removal from the city • yet 
never thought it possible that his friend could be treach- 
erous. Gaulfs motive must be to get rid of him ; yet. 
If there was plenty of time for a return voyage from 
IJveipool before the marriage, Gault evidently intended 
that he should not return I 

Away among the sidings on the water front a yard 
engine bustled up and down with its clanging bell • 
beyond was the little shed beside which, on the night of 
his coming to New York, Brand had first been sounded 
by the Colonel as to the prospects of war with Clewston. 
Was this to be the end of his hopes, his great ambition, 
his all-mastenng love? Above the towering roofs of 
the city, m a haze of smoke against the low-driving 
clouds, shone the golden dome of the World, the needle 
spire of the Tribune, and in rear of these, the house of the 
Avenger, shadowed by still taller buildings, a cluster 
shouldering the sky, dominating the Metropolis. And 
so the time had come to say good-bye to all this— 
to go away defeated, broken. 

There was the crowd in the wharf-shed of men who 
Idly lounged, of women who cried-some exchanging 
last pwtings with their friends on board, others staring 
indifferently at the long line of faces which lined the 
raib. At the dock gates stood Larry Bryne, in the 
midst of a group of men who chewed, spat, swore, 
while he boasted joyfully, pointing his finger, with a 
densive laugh, at Brand. These loafers-these low- 
browed Irish loafers— Brand knew them well. Straight 
said in his letter that to leave the Goliah would be 
suicide; now he knew why. What brought these men 
to speed the parting ship? Maybe, they had formerly 
Muntered down out of curiosity to say good-bye to the 

A ^ 5'^'^'*' ^^ Maharajah. Was the Goliah 
doomed? Could she be saved? 



348 



THE DRAGON'S VICTORY 



A sudden gust of wind caught the great ensign at the 
stem, which fluttered tremulous, as though it loved the 
wind's caress ; the captain laid his hand upon a lever, 
causing a bell to tingle down in the engine-room ; for 
the last time the great steam siren roared ; the mates 
fore and aft were directing the release of the warps ; 
then the people surged through the sheds to the wharf- 
end, where hundreds gathered, cheering as the " Giant " 
Liner glided slowly past them out of the slip into the 
Channel, and began to thread her course down the 
Bay. 



CHAPTER XXXI 

ON THE HIGH SEAS 

smlr.f"''^ *'" ""^ "'■ *''" *'■'' hundred or so of 

aSbST? '"'"*'. "' *"• »"■*»" Admiralty as 
available for transport in the event of war; she was 
more especially one of the several i5rst-rate liners whfch 
cTuhers'KS 'T; """• •^ transfo™:d to 

tne Naval Reserve; and good reason they had to be 
p^ud of the largest, swiftest merchant c«ft on tJ^ 
h.gh seas. Her smoke sUcks might have be« de^Jed 

oUriT'*' '" -'---"''» have gra^a 
royal palace ; her engmes were so mighty that their 
v^rafon caused a malady worse than seLicknes her 
^"irrr"" --° P^^^'-g-- that she „ever'et 
SpJ of e^„^S2^4r "''—«>' a -t .'oHous 

coulttVltwl!" ''""'' "" ^'^ -«=0' P'^ttern of 
S on th»M "."'"'^'was the big ship clear of the 
^?™k! • . ">°'-'»ng of November ajth. than re 
membenng how an acquaintance had entr^s S wkh 

b TinerfHhVdr' "r ^^' •"= '^^^ '-■^ ~"s 

This gentleman was found i„ 'he smoking-room 
249 



350 



ON THE HIGH SEAS 



•hivering with a newly-caught cold, which he had ju»t 
been persuaded to treat with a dose of brandy. Perhaps 
the letter was even better medicine, for Mr. Richardso* 
roused himself from seeming torpor at the receipt 
of it, and began to Uke a renewed interest in his 
surroundings. ... 

Close by sat a bronzed, hardy little Britisher, who had 
perhaps been hunting big game in the Rockies, or ex- 
ploring Northern Canada ; or, maybe, somewhere with 
the Colours opening up new trade ; anyway, travel had 
worn off the ice-crust of the national reserve, for, after an 
appreciative glance at the giant's immense shoulders, he 
seized the occasion of Brand's awakening, and ventured 
a remark. 

"You're right," said Brand absently, " there s plenty 
more weather where this comes from." 

He ripped open the envelope, spreading the contenU 
upon his knee— a large sheet of paper, entirely blank. 

The Britisher was speaking. ^^ 

" When we travellers first arrive here from Liverpool ' 
—he pointed with his pipe toward the receding city— 
"your interviewers want to know before we land what we 
think of America. I'm inclined to retaliate for once 
upon a helpless Yankee"— the Britisher laughed. 

Brand knew well what blank paper meant in the 
usage of intrigue, for nitrate of silver is a colourless 
fluid which becomes like ink when exposed to the 
light. He must wait ; meanwhile, he might as well be 
civil, so he looked up under his heavy eyebrows at the 
Britisher. _ . ^^ 

" Retaliate, sir, all you've a mind to — I won't bite. 

" Well, Mr. Uncle Sam, you're under the flag now ; 
this ship is British territory. What do you think of 
England?" „ 

" The tender-foot Britisher," was the retort, " generally 



ON THE HIGH SEAS 



351 



comei across with a mission to explain to us how our 
business ought to be run— to teach us how 'to live. I 
guess I've a right, then, to advise you Britishers how to 
make a mess of things— how to die." 
" What's the prescription ? " 
" Misgovern the Irish." 

Brand was looking at the paper on his lap, no longer 
blank, for there was a gradual appearance on it of vague 
lines and dots, faint marks of writing. 

"A fair retort," said the Britisher, "serves me jolly 
well right. Why, this very Goliah may be going the way 
of the i sar, the Caiiph, and the Maharajah. For all we 
know there may be Irish dynamite in the hold. Yes, 
Uncle Sam, our Government, especially of Ireland, is 
still in the rough— we're a new country." 

" A new country ? " Brand had been absorbed in the 
famt manuscript, which seemed, indeed, to refer to 
matters connected very closely with the misgovemment 
of Ireland. 

"A new country?" He looked up to stare at the 
Britisher. "What on earth do you mean?" 
The traveller crossed his legs. 

"Well, you know, our Empire, as a political fact, is 
hardly so old as your Republic. What had we a hun- 
dred years ago ? In Canada a few settlements, small, 
scattered, and mostly French. In India a company of 
merchants; in the West Indies a cluster of Crown 
colonies; elsewhere some isolated posts. To-day the 
Canadian and Australasian dominions are each about 
M big as our first colony, now the United States ; the 
African sphere of influence rather larger; the East 
Indian Empire could swallow your eighty millions with- 
out feeling the difference, while our outposts give us 
coaling stations for the safe command of the sea. So 
you'll understand how an occasional scrap like Ireland 



353 ON THE HIGH SEAS 

geU overlooked ; but In time we shall h»ve leisure to 
stMighten things out— in time. You must make allow- 
ances for our youth." 

"Yes," Brand glanced at the writing before him, 
•' things get overlooked— Justice, for instance, when you 
make the Irish pay double their fair share of the Uxes, 
and allow all the land rent to be spent by absentees 
who Uke everything and return to the country nothing. 
I don't know much about it, Mr. Britisher, I'm a scrub 
lot, but I'm learning. I thought, for instance, that the 
Americans knew how to bluff, but you take the cake 
with your ntw country." Upon that the Britisher went 
away chuckling in search of a whisky and soda. 

The blank shept had become a legible manuscript 
now, both above and beneath a careful diagram, the 
transverse sectional elevation of a steamer. 

" Memobandvh. 

" Nrw York, Nov. 34i 190— • 
" The diagram and explanation hereunder will guide 
Captain Harrington, Lieut. R.N.R., of the Goliak, in the 
discovery and removal of an infernal machine, designed 
by the Liberators, for the destruction of his ship in mid- 
ocean. He is to be particularly requested, on behalf of 
the Home Office, to regard this communication as con- 
fidential, to use extreme caution in the handling and 
unloading of the weapon— for which operation safe 
directions are hereunder given ; to keep the case, to- 
gether with a sample of the explosive, for transmission 
to "—here followed the name and address of a Govern- 
ment official—" enclosing therewith this document under 
seal. Since any violation of the secrecy demanded of 
Captain Barrington by the Government would have 
most disastrous consequences, it would be as well if he 
could be persuaded to remove the explosives without 



ON THE HIGH SEAS 



3S3 



alarming his crew and passengers, and to enclose a copy 
of this warning sealed to the owners. 

"It is essential that the gentleman who bears this 
message should not be carried beyond American terri- 
torial waters, his presence being eminently necessary on 
His Majesty's Service in New York. A motor launch 
will therefore be in waiting at a point on the GoUaks 
course, ten miles beyond Sandy Hook, and she will 
hoist as a signal the r*"" ensign at her fore truck. In 
consideration of the ut rhat the bearer is saving his 
command from protibi', Icstuc^ijii, Captain Barrington 
will, doubtless, see !" «,!} fo obligi.i^' H.M. Government 
in this matter, f) • ;ii"ijt'.K is hr:i't< attached, it being 
only necessary that .h; hi.u; v iii^ should be recog- 
nized at Whiteh,.;;. IVe ht-i r .' ., ind further advices 
awaiting him with the iiias.»r cf the launch ZoophyU" 

When Brand went jp ' oi, oa.idy Hook was already 
well ustem. Captain li.'.ringtoii seemed about to 
descend from the bridge to his chart-room — there was 
indeed no time to spare for ceremony, so it was perhaps 
excusable for Brand to dispense with an introduction. 
He ran to the foot of the ladder and waylaid the captain, 
who asked bluntly what was the matter with him. 

"From the British Government," said Brand coolly, 
thrusting his memorandum into the captain's hands. 
"Read that I" 

The master of the Goliah, despite his brass buttons 
and uniform cap, looked rather an eminent business 
man than anything nautical. One saw in him more 
the manager of a floating hotel than the lieutenant in 
His Majesty's Royal Naval Reserve. Moreover, bronzed, 
handsome, sturdy, dictatorial in manner, Captain Bar- 
rington was the last person living whom it would be 
safe to slight 



254 



ON THE HIGH SEAS 



f'i 



And as he looked down upon Brand from the steps of 
the ladder he was evidently considering how to deal with 
a probable lunatic, for surely no sane traveller would 
appear in such weather so very slightly dressed, no 
reasonable passenger would take the liberty of so 
accosting himself. 

He returned the paper without glancing at it. 
"If," he said, briefly, "you have any business to 
transact, my purser will see you." 

Brand realized his mistake, but to withdraw now 
would be fatal. 

"Do you know," he answered, "what happened to the 
'King' Liners? Dynamite is no purser's business, I 
take it." 

" Dynamite I " 

Brand laughed. " Captain, if you value the safety of 
the ship, read this memorandum from your Government." 
The Captain took the paper and read, glancing at 
times towards Brand. 

" Who are you ? " he said at last. 
" I have taken pai^;i,.e. Captain, under the name of 
John G. Richardson; but I guess my business is what 
concerns you." 

" I'll see to it." Captain Barrington made as though 
he would pass. " If there's any foundation for this yarn, 
I'll meet you later, Mr. Richardson." 

" Excuse me "—Brand barred the way—" my business 
is pressing. At the tenth mile from Sandy Hook I 
must leave this ship." 

"You seem to have taken command." 
The Captain was nettled. 

"Don't be hostile," said Brand, "I don't want to 
bother you more than I have to. If you'll kindly 
look ahead, my motor launch must be in sight by 
this time." 



ON THE HIGH SEAS 



355 



"Come, sir." The Captain led Brand up to the 
bridge. "Now, where's your launch?" 

" There," said Brand, as he caught sight of a small 
craft running swiftly about three miles ahead. 

A black spot glided up her fore signal halliards, 
breaking at the truck into a fluttering streak of scarlet 

"And that's the flag." 

The Captain put his hand on a lever, to which a bell 
answered in the depths ; then the Goliah slowed down 
to half speed. 

" Mr. Richardson, it's quite evident, whatever ground 
you have for thinking my ship in danger, that you've 
put yourself to a lot of inconvenience to give me this 
warning. I hope you won't take it amiss that I was 
doubtful at first You see"— the Captain smiled— 
"your actions were, to say the least, unconventional." 

" That's all right, Captain ; dynamite's unconventional 
too." 

The Captain glanced at the memorandum. "Mr. 
Wilson "—he called to the officer on duty—" have a rope 
ready for that launch. She's coming alongside." 

" Aye, aye, sir." 

Glancing once round the calm sea, rippling before an 
oif-shore wind in the sunlight. Captain Harrington went 
down the ladder somewhat hurriedly, then from the 
hurricane deck called back to Brand, " Mr. Richardson, 
I'll be with you presently." 

The Goliak slowed down and stopped; the launch 
came alongside, and, after a few minutes, the Captain 
re-appeared on the hurricane deck, where Brand joined 
him. 

" Is your luggage ready, Mr. Richardson ? " 
Brand shook his head. " Haven't got any." 
The Captain laughed. "Well, certainly you didn't 
lack self-confidence. Your memorandum, I find, is 



256 



ON THE HIGH SEAS 



perfectly correct; following its directions, I had no 
trouble in putting the machine out of mischief; fact 
is, you've saved the ship, and probably every soul on 
board— rather a big thing to say 'thank you' for, 
Mr. Richardson ? " 

He took two or three paces along the deck, and then 
came back i^ain. 

" Mr. Richardson," his voice faltered a little. " I don't 
want to pry into your affairs, but — do you mind trusting 
me with your name and address ? " 

Brand wrote upon a card, which he handed to Captain 
'Barrington. 

"What," said the latter, "the Fighting Editor?" 

Brand nodded. 

"Another instance, Mr. Haraldson, of distinguished 
service rendered to Civilization by Gault's Avenger" 

"Look here. Captain Barrington, I want to ask a 
favour of you. The Liberators know that I sailed in 
the Goliah, so their agents in Liverpool will be looking 
out for me, and if they find that I am not on board they 
will cable the New York gang to warn them. Now, I 
want you to send to some Liverpool paper a paragraph 
noting the arrival in England of the distinguished 
American— what shall I say— engineer, Mr. John G. 
Richardson. Then, for the return voyage of the first 
big steamer leaving Liverpool, will you kindly have a 
passage booked in his name? My life probably de- 
pends on this. Here's money for the passage ; do you 
mind ? " 

Captain Barrington accepted the trust with some 
amusement. 



CHAPTER XXXII 

CLEARED FOR ACTION 

" New York, Novembir 24, 190—. 
"Dear CnUM.-Trust me a little longer. I'm in a 
hurry. 

"Yours, as usual, 

" The Writer." 

Brand sat in the narrow cabin of the launch, which 
was now steaming rapidly to the north-east, rocked by 
a slight sea on her port bow. The Goliah was hull 
down to the eastward ; the land hung dim in the north, 
heavy with cloud banks, from whence an occasional 
Hurry of snow came reeling down the wind. Brand 
had been hurried away in the Goliah, now he was bound 
he knew not where. "Trust me a little longer. Tm in 

w,>h ;•», ^^^^ ^'™^''' ""■g'^* '^''^ favored him 
wito a httle more explanation than that. 

The master of the launch disturbed this reverie. "Say. 

head nr'^'^'f T/u^'u ^°" """"^ °" ^^""^ ' J =»n't -nake 
Head or tail of this business." 

"What's up ? " said Brand wearily. 
For answer came the dull boom of a gun 
" What does that mean ? " 
" It means ' Heave to ' ! " 

Brand followed the Captain forward, from whence he 
saw a steam yacht bearing down upon the launch 
^ 257 



258 



CLEARED FOR ACTION 



" I guess," he said, " you'd better run away ! " 

The yacht dipped her colours three times. 

" What does that mean ? " 

" A salute ! " cried the skipper. 

" I don't understand ; but I guess we'll surrender to • 
that." 

Then a shout cams from over the water. 

" There must be some mistake," quoth the skipper. 

"Captain" — Brand laughed— "down brakes — off steam 
— ease her — stop her." 

The skipper gave tongue. 

" Who are you, anjrway, Mr. Richardson ? — a royal 
family in disguise ? " Then he grinned at his engineer, 
pointing over his shoulder towards the yacht. " I'll be 
everlastingly sunk if he ain't some dock." 

Brand perched himself on the little capstan, and 
mechanically pulled out of his pocket a plug of tobacco, 
from which he began to whittle a supply for his pipe. 
What could it mean ? Whose yacht was this hoisting 
long lines of flags, whistling, firing an abortive attempt 
at a salute, while she bore down rapidly upon the 
launch ? 

She grazed alongside, fenders were lowered, lines were 
thrown and caught, then there came to her rail a tall 
personage with a large red nose, a frock-coat, a silk hat, 
and superhuman dignity of bearing. A crowd of men 
stood behind him at a respectful distance. 

" By all the gods ! " cried Brand, jumping down off the 
capstan : " Colonel Giggleswick ! " 

"The same, sir," answered the personage, "at your 
service." 

Brand would not wait for a gangway, but, the yacht 
being now within easy reach, he scrambled over her rail, 
and stood on her clean white deck. 

" Mr. Haraldson.sir," the Colonel took off his hat with 



CLEARED FOR ACTION 259 

M'm°iollv JjLt"'"''''" ^'■'""' ^''^P^'' •'■■^ hands. 
mJfZf^'"T'^^'^ ^^P*"'" Baxendale to a detach- 

th^^c^^sLd^r^^e""^"---^ 

th^' 2[;^'l^Hn ^"'"'''''^•: Brand had acknowledged 
Th,n I ^ r ""^ ^°"' "''^ '■"^"'1 ' Shake handsl" 

another, for h s friends of the Reformers' Club, and in 

thfr «M ""'""^ f'''"'''' ^''°°'^ hands witk all of 
them. Now, come along, Colonel." He laughed at the 

:«tS'^"Ske''^^"^' ^' ""f "^''^''^ °'^«= «"- 

!ri % , ,^ "^ ^"^^y- ^ "> curious." 

The Colone led him to the main saloon where 

h.m with food and wine, then consented to tell the story 
of his experiences in type-setting ^ 

the Cotner''' A *="™"=' ''■» '^°^""-ght eccentric," said 

the second floor ?"" ^^° T' ^ ^'"'^''^ S^'^^'' °n 
the second-floor of a Broadway business block ought 

Sa^r;;t " ' padded-room and an hallucinatfon 
stlesrreTliW ta^r^^^^^^^^ V' ""^ 

who blows his^wn^^mTet ^^^^^'Z^Z 
t:^^^^' ' ''°"''-^"' *° -' "P - the h^elvy 

of ZnTni'lS ''''"• ^ S°' '^ P-tty good crowd 
men, and I didn t spare expense as to the stores." 



ate 



CLEARED FOR ACTION 



" The ( 

" Oh, th«f s alt right— your department, young man— 
your departaent. I doubled all their pay, and offered 
a bonus of one thousand a head, with double for officers, 
gave • champagne supper to the boys, and made a 
speech afterw»rd»~no extra charge for the oratory. I 
asked them if their hearts bled for the wrongs of suffer- 
ing Ireland— they didn't to any appreciable extent 
Then 1 said hands up the man who doesn't care a 
co''tinentel damn about Ireland. Up went their hands, 
and I knew I could trust my garrison ; so I went on to 
say that we intended to smash up the Irish Liberators, 
and they were pkased all to [rieces. 

" The cowboys didn't get any wages worth mention- 
ing from their Wild West Show— they had sore hearts, 
and owed for their washing; so by way of contrast I 
appointed every day for pay-day, with three men elected 
by the crowd to hold the cash on their joint behalf. 
That fixed 'em— they howled with joy. Next, I ex- 
plained that I wasn't paying for the enjoyment of their 
personal beauty, or the charm of their manners. I put 
the crowd under the discipline of a besieged garrison, 
said that if anything leaked out as to our work there 
wouldn't be any bonus, that if anybody was caught 
signalling to people outside, or sending to the saloon 
for beer, I'd leave his punishment to all hands. ' Finally,' 
says I, ' if any of you want to talk get through with it 
right now— because I'm going to "boss" this show 
without arguing.' 

" Everything went like a beautiful greased streak— 
the cowboys kept the compositors and cooks in fear of 
their lives, and I started in will my 'electric cookery.' 
By mail I advertized prizes .' r clam bake, and the best 
ways of boiling a live lobster ; used the answers to 
kindle the stove, and so got my fuel for nothing. The 



CLEARED FOR ACTION 



a6i 



cowboys were on guard, the journalists ran the enquiry 
office, parcels delivered by express were sent back to 
blow up elsewhere. Gault cut off our water, so we 
rigged a hose from the Alarm Office ; he stopped our 
gas and electric light, so we got out our candles ; he 
tried the asphyxiation business against closed venti- 
lators. Police raided us for immoral literature, forged 
bonds, and Anarchist propaganda, and found nothing 
but editorials on the stewing of eels. I was called to 
serve on a jury, and proved myself incapable of truth; 
doctors came to prove me a lunatic, minions of the law 
to arrest me for debt— but I've been there before my 
son, I've been there too often before. 

" One night I caught the cookee signalling with a 
stick through the lavatory window— I fixed him. How ? 
Oh, I had him tried by the crowd, sentenced to lose his 
bonus, locked up for a week on the bread and water of 
affliction, and soused every evening in the wash-tub. I 
used him to signal messages every evening, and kept off 
all further attacks till the very end." 
" And what was the end ? " 

" On the night of the 24th one of my cowboys, the 
Arizona Snorter, saw a stranger cavoorting around in the 
dark. He's been up to the Alarm Offices, spent fifteen 
minutes there, and came away all haste, stealth and bad 
conscience. The Snorter went up with my pass keys 
and a lantern, found the paint scratched on the door of 
the Alarm Syndicate Offices, the transom open above. 
Now a business visitor ain't in the habit of crawling in 
and out through the transom, so the Snorter investigated. 
In the manager's room, my old office, he found the 
very smartest contrivance ever devised, a thing which, 
patented at Washington, would make a fortune — No 
Criminal should be without it — Indispensable to In- 
cendiaries—Every man his own Firebug! From the 



263 



CLEARED FOR ACTION 



ceiling hung a pigskin bladder full of petroleum, under- 
neath was a large spirit-lamp to warm the thing up till 
it burst. It did burst, you bet, wrapped the room in 
flames in two shakes of a duck's tail. Mr. Snorter 
cleared out, slammed the door, and put out for solitude. 
Of course, I was on my hind-legs in a holy second, 
rang up the fire brigade, crammed a carpet bag with my 
rriinuscripts and papier mach6 casts of the matter we 
lave in type, set half my men to fight the fire, armed 
t':. whole crowd with revolvers and a dose of whisky. 
'.; Uiat time fire-engines were dashing up in all direc- 
>uns, the hydrants were tapped all along Broadway, 
and the Brigade took charge; but I suspicioned that 
Gault had busted up my cookery business. Excited? 
Sir, I was never so cool in my life except once when 
I stalked 'bergs and bagged a live glacier for the New 
York ice market. My men came straggling down by 
twos and threes, a badly damaged assortment, smell- 
ing of fire, clothes charred, hair singed, swearing blue 
streaks. ' Mr. Snorter,' says I, ' how goes it ? ' 

" ' Up to the roof,' says the Snorter. 

" ' Will this ceiling hold .' ' 

" ' It's caving in,' says he, ' at the back.' 

" I paraded my garrison, numbered them off, gave 
orders as to the guarding of the carpet-bag, saw that 
all hands were properly armed and losdeJ, and was just 
ready to march when a big man loomed up through the 
smoke calling out for me. The roar of flames, the 
smashing in of ceilings, had got to be all fired horrible, 
but that's nothing, sir, to men capably commanded. 
My men took to danger like mother's milk— liked it, in 
fact, because I knew how to be calm. 

'"I'm Captain Baxendale,' says the big man, ' at your 
service, ColoneL' " 

" Captain^Baxendale ? " 



CLEARED FOR ACTION 



263 



" That same chicken. Yes, sir, with a guard of twenty 
n>en, organized by that Reverend Gentleman who nursed 
me in his own bed, and will be given a first-class com- 
partment in a better world. Well, on finding out that 
even though we must evacuate, Gault hadn't done with 
us yet, I was disposed to raise three cheers for the 
Reverend Gentleman when a fireman dashed in from 
the stairway. 'Come,' he yelled, 'out of this I Out of 
this!' 

" At any other time I should have asked him who the 
deuce made him commander-in-chief, but the circum- 
stances not being propitious — 

"'Steady, boys.' says I. 'Steady! No rushing now 
-by your left ' 

" At that moment a red-hot safe plunged down through 
the ceiling; vaults, girders, walls were visibly crumbling 
— and there was no time for military evolutions. 

" We cleared out of that building in a wholly unmilitary 
rush. Yes, sir, we evacuated the position." 

" And what next ? " 

"Oh, well, thanks to that man Straight, to the 
Reverend Gentleman, and to Captain Baxendale, all 
was not lost save honour. Foreseeing that things were 
going to be made warm for me, a guard had been pro- 
vided by them, which took us in safety through the city, 
this yacht lay provisioned with a printer's plant and all 
the ingredients for comfort; steam up, and clearance 
papers complete. So here we are, wet under foot, but 
not in any way discouraged. By noon of the 8th we 
shall have the type set up, the matrices ready for the 
press." 

" Yes," said Brand, " while Gault thinks me on the 
Goliah bound for the bottom of the Atlantic." 

" By the way," the Colonel produced a letter, " this is 
for you." 



364 



CLEARED FOR ACTION 



" Dear Brand " (so read Straight's letter),— 

"When I found New York getting too hot to hold 
us I persuaded Gault to bum out the Colonel, and to 
have you decoyed away on the Goliak. That saved 
the Goliak, put Gault off his guard, and ensured the 
completion of our type-setting beyond the reach of his 
detectives, so I hope you won't mind being put to a 
little inconvenience. Gault has paid me for destroying 
you, enough to meet all current expenses, so we are 
fighting him with his own money, and he thinks all 
the world of me. What do you think of my game? 

" Keep the launch Zoophyte for your tender, and get 
ready to use her for the landing of your matrices by 
midnight of December the gth ; Captain Browne, of the 
yacht, will tell you where to land. 

" It may interest you to know that Gault announces 
the departure of his Fighting Editor on a voyage to 
Europe, from whence it is hoped that you will return in 
a month or so completely restored to health. 

" Father Jared has told Miss Gault about my arrange- 
ments, and she looks forward with renewed hope to the 
issue. Her wedding-day, December loth, promises a 
wonderful surprise for the bridegroom. 

"Meanwhile His Holiness, Saint Clewston-Gault, is 
trying on his halo with a view to an early apotheosis as 
Reform candidate for the Presidency. The Greatest 
Philanthropist in the World is playing all his trumps— 
we keep yours in reserve. So ends my part in this game. 

" Yours as usual, 

" Dick." 



And while these things were being discussed, the 
yacht, with he.- type-setting works in full progress, all 
hands confident, the launch in attendance, the enemy 
completely outwitted, steamed out on the open sea. 



CHAPTER XXXIII 

VERSUS THE CIVILIZED WORLD 

finSh^n'" r"'"^ °^ December 8th the type-setting was 

papier mach^, from which type-metal casting, known 
M stereotypes were yet to be founded in New Yoric 
These, mounted on the cylinders of a rotary press" 
would be ready for instant use. The whole Vr^^f 
Z S ! °" """ *". ""'' ^''^""^ ^°' 'he printers ; 

thlnfl^K ;•, ^'"'" """'"^ *•«" °" *e evening of 
the ninth the matrices were to be packed in a large 
portmanteau and landed ; moreover, that on the mo™! 
ng of the tenth. Gault was to be overthrown; but how 
who^'^T "'^ *° ^ P""'**^' '° ^ Published to the 

Whr,fr ''°"" "°' °« °f them could conjecture 
When afterwards they saw this feat achieved, they we« 
overwhelmed with astonishment at their ow^ st7pW ty 

S s^.nn"'!! '°"r'' P"""^ *•>•= deck alone. Eight 
fo-icas^le ti"".^'^ y^'*'^ '"■'''&^- ^'Kht bell, on fhe 
nfeht sUnr : ^!,*"''^'' ^"^ "="^''^'^' '^"d the mid- 

They say that the old-time Northmen had their 
365 



MICROCOPY USOIUTION ItST CHAIT 

(ANSI ond ISO TEST CHART No. 2| 




13.6 



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1.8 



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_^ APPLIED IN/HGE In 

^S^i 1653 EqsI Main Str««| 

S^S ''ochester, Ne* York t4609 uSA 

"-^ (716) 482 - 0300 - Phone 

^B (716) 286 - 59B9 - Fax 



26o VERSUS THE CIVILIZED WORLD 

sombre moods, that when they had no fighting to do 
they sulked, and so it was with Brand. His was a joy- 
ful disposition so long as there were difficulties to meet, 
dangers to dare ; the dark hours came only in times of 
idleness. So the night rested heavy on his shoulders as 
he paced the deck. 

In the past there was the Knight Errantry of children ; 
in these latter days there is the grave Knight Errantry 
of men who war against powers invisible, vanquish Fate, 
ride Nature like a horse, laugh in the Valley of the 
Shadow of Death, and seek their rest only beyond the 
grave. The heroes of this age are overworked doctors, 
evangelists of science and revelation, rulers of men — 
the Gordons and the Lincolns who are too scornful of 
danger even to carry arms, who are murdered as a sign 
that the Earth has bred men too great to be wasted on 
a second-rate planet, men found worthy to fight the 
enemies of the Almighty on battle-fields that are paved 
with a dust of stars. 

Brand is a twentieth-century hero, type of the chivalry 
of this age of iron who shed no blood of men, but slay 
dragons of sin, or carry suns in their hands to light the 
way for mankind. 

But the greater glory casts the deeper shadow ; and 
this was Brand's hour of darkness. 

The moon was setting now ; her retinue of sparkling 
silver lights trailed off across the waters where she led, 
and all her white glory blushed into redness as she said 
farewell. 
So the dark hour went by. 

The stars blazed down, the very air chilled until it 
sparkled in faint mimicry of their icy light, while the 
deck creaked under foot with its rime of frost. Who 
was that beside the taffrail? As Brand went aft the 
man grunted " Good evening." 



VERSUS THE CIVILIZED WORLD 267 

" Who are you ? " 

The man struck a match on his breeches, and, holding 
It before h.s face, growled, ■' Thafs who I am " 
M-^""^ .."-""gnifed the Arizona Snorter, whose eyes 
ghttered hke steeWhose hard grim mouth had the Hnes 
of an „on wxll His was a whimsical Satanic temp ra! 
mer^t come of the burning deserts on the Mexican 
border where the Ishmaelite is independent sSlanS 

B nH " r*; ."''°"'''' shivering with cold," said 
Brand "why don't you walk and get warm ? " 
1 he boys are trying to sleep down bebw " 
" I was a brute." 

'•Have'Srr"''"^"^^"'''''''""''"^'"^"^ 

enlu^gt"''""'' '■■' '" P'P'-"*'''^ '=°'"'=°^ -^ g°°d 

I' You cowboys are sick of loafing ? " said Brand 
You ve struck it, partner." 

" Would you like a game of chance ashore ? " 
What are the stakes ? " 

" You won't find it dull." 

" I can make good." 

"Thanks. Tell your five cow-punchers to be ready 
to go on board the launch at a moment's notice. We 
take the 'paper pulls ' to New York." 

" And not the herd ? " 

thl pSoTCu*;."''^ ''''''■ ' ^^- >'- ^-«-- 

N^^L^X^'^^l ""''* """■"'■"S- *''^* °f the ninth of 
November, Brand was awakened on the arrival of the 
tender vvhich had crept into a New England port for 
news. Though Straight had arranged to send'lettet 
them"? f "l^^'^' '""^ '-""^h had%one in searcfof 
obtam any t.dmgs whatever as to what was happening 



268 VERSUS THE CIVILIZED WORLD 

in New York. So it was with a sickening anxiety that 
Brand went up to the chart-room, expecting to hear as 
usual, the same story of failure. But, on this occasion, 
the master of the Zoophyte was better pleased with him- 
self, because he had a prisoner to produce, a stowaway, 
discovered after he left the coast, only a slip of a lad who 
could not be made to talk ; but still a bird in the hand, 
which was better than a spy on the wharf. Brand was 
not surprised, he had expected as much, feared more. 
The event was significant of a close watch being kept 
along the coast at a time when any new facts discovered 
by the enemy might involve the disastrous failure of all 
his plans ; but, on the whole, he was pleased when the 
prisoner was brought before him — an old and valued 
acquaintance — Larty Byrne. The sailor boy was, in- 
deed, a fearless little rascal, irresponsible, because he 
knew no better, loyal to his master with the fidelity 
of a courageous terrier. 

" Well, Larry," he said, kindly enough, " surprised to 
see me again ? " 

"Taint the worrd,sorr." 

" You're a nice child, Larry. Your parents must be 
proud of you." 

" Sure, not more so than I am." Larry was dignified 
now, despite the grime of the glory-hole from which he 
had been unearthed. " It's the Divil's own dance we've 
been leading yez — me and Gault" 

" You and Gault, Larry, will be getting into trouble." 

Larry waxed self-righteous. " Sufficient until the day 
is the avil thereof, and besides " 

"Besides what?" 

" Ye don't know when you're in luck, or ye'd have 
stayed on board the Goliak" 

" And gone to the bottom with her ? " 

"Yes — kistewise she's got to TJverpool all right, for 



VERSUS THE CIVILIZED WORLD 269 
thim new-fangled machines ain't aquil to the job- but 
S ^''r.^ "' *^ '^"'"» »nd shipped iia'co^ 
berth W.U. Davy Jones than come back^New Y^k 

Mr S^IT '""?'*' '"■^'■""''y- " We're Lding 
Mr. Straight where it's warm. You and Dick <itrai^hT 

-|^,the Boss, shall fri«le, the both av yez";;? t^fsSe 

Brand turned to his officers. "Take care of this 
youngster,' he said earnestly; "handcuffs an^leg irons 
for one. but feed him well. Larry, if it's true thf t you 
^l^t:^^:r^^''y- -' GaultshiTL'Ss 

"Flunkeys indade!" said the prisoner, as he was 

•'Mdr,!^' '=''^""^'"- "F'-keys,'be jisr 

And now," continue! B rd, when Larrv', ^^ 

g^tulations had died away in thelTanc^^/^ p.:^" 

Browne. I want y *o see my six cowboys on tea d 

N:w Y^rt" " -* ^*"' """^'^ ^- *" ™» to 
"Aye, aye, sir." 
The Captain went out. 
" Colonel Giggleswick here ? " 

Hi«m wT'"! ' •l!"f'. '""■=«= *t Brand's elbow, " Colonel 
Hiram W. Giggleswick is on hand." 

W K.^"""""'"' ^°'°'"=>- R"" the yacht into 
Boston by sundown ; send these telegrams "-!5e prS 

Mr^t,^.-r."f'' °' envelopes-" they're addressed to 
publfsSTnl ^!° %r ''"'' '"'"^ '" B-ton, and aS 
into S u :, ^'^ messages are intended to fall 

oeiieve that I am at work against him in Boston. Place 
pve him a sleeping draught, and mount a tnistworl^ 

h^d, K ^'"'. r' '"■"'• After midnight brCaU 
hands by special train to New York; sfe tha" Lo! 



270 VERSUS THE CIVILIZED WORLD 

man is armed and waiting for orders by ten o'clock at 
the corner by the Avenger on Broadway. If I don't 
turn up by noon report to Father Jared, with this letter, 
which will ensure that you will get your pay." 

Captain Browne returned, reporting all ready on the 
launch, and the morning clear with occasional flurries of 
snow. 

So Brand, taking up a large portmanteau, went to the 
gangway with his officers. "Good-bye, Colonel. So 
long, Captain." He shook hands with the mates and 
his foreman. "I'm off to New York to smash Mr. 
Clewston-Gault." 

Night was settling down upon New York when, on 
the evening of the ninth of December, Brand made his 
way unmolested through the streets of the lower city. 
The sky was overcast with grey clouds; already the 
first flakes were falling of a snowstorm destined to be 
memorable ; indeed, the few people hurrying away home 
had no time to notice the big man wha carried a port- 
manteau, and vas attended by half-a-dozen rough- 
looking folioweis. Brand and his cowboys went for 
supper to a lunch-counter not far from City Hall Park. 
Afterwards, while he smoked his pipe, the journalist 
must needs glance through the evening paper — a life- 
time habit, dropped, perforce, during the last few weeks. 
The sheet was full, as usual, of trivialities. A leader 
disparaging the Young Turkish Government, prompted, 
doubtless, by speculators in Ottoman Bonds ; scandalous 
conduct of an English lord — the American Press seldom 
mentions the good deeds of the peerage ; British aggres- 
sions — Transatlantic Journalism writes down such in 
large characters ; Indian outrages in the South West : 
fifty Navajoes shot, and three whites massacred ; the 
President's privacy — three columns descriptive thereof. 
" Hello ! " Brand became suddenly interested. " Marshall 



VERSUS THE CIVILIZED WORLD 2;, 
Gault on the Warpath-Tammany Scalps-the Great 

?^n?T!f 'TV^' Chair-Indign^on Mee ^ 
To-nigh . Awake Citizens! Down with the Local 
M.sgo. .,ment I The Purity League and the Augean 
Trust Gault's Battle Cry!" ""gcan 

This evening at eight o'clock a miss meeting at the 
Metrop<J.tan Opera House was to inaugurate !he war 
of the Pu„^ League against misgovernment in the 
metropolis; Marshall Gault. who had just accepted the 
Reform nomination for the Presidency, was to place 
h^self at the head of this great popular movemem 
and a special edition of the Av.n^er was announced 
for to-morrow giving the entire secret history of the 
crimina gang that so long had dominated local politics 
So Gault had been refused his annual subsidy ! 
r.St ' kT '^^ r u ^"^ ^' *" news-already while he 

fouil TT °^ •?'" "'""^'•'^ ''^"'■^••^d the shadowy 
journalese of the printed columns. His plans were 
formed for the night's work, the paper was thrown asTde! 
the time for action had come. Leaving a few short 
directions with Bronk. one of the cowboys, to ensure a 
vigilant guard over his portmanteau, he called the 
Arizona Snorter to follow him. a„d went out at once 
into the streets. 

Snow was falling, great white t-akes of it, just like 
souls of little women whirring about, terrified of the 
foul pavements, seeking refuge on sills and doorsteps, 
perching on men's shoulders or wayside railings 
where they could still be clean. But many, alas wefe 
swalbwed up, or trampled under foot to be seen no 

Denser and more dense came the white flakes down 
'nto the glare of lighted streets, whirring about the 
now'^h "P'f ' hosts of little spirits dancing ; so t^at 
now they purified the city which man had ffued.and 



273 VERSUS THE CIVILIZED WORLD 

the great metropolis was clean ; as in this night the 
hosts >f heaven warred against all the powers of darkness, 
conquering and to conquer. 

The people said it was a blizzard ; all of them were 
inconvenienced ; some died ; indeed, in a population of 
crowded millions, violent weather is considered a suitable 
occasion by many to depart this life for one wherein 
perhaps they will be less uncomfortable. 

Brand, fully recovered from his wounds, braced by a 
few brisk days at sea, rejoicing in the might of his 
strength, cared nothing for the wind and snow as, 
buttoning his pilot jacket, obtained on board the yacht, 
and slouching his felt hat over his eyes, he strode through 
the empty streets on his way to meet Miss Gault. Oi 
course she would attend Gault's great political meeting, 
therefore she would pass by the Church of the Redeemei 
on her way from the tenement ; so Brand and the 
Snorter took refuge in its porch to wait for her. The 
church was lighted ; from within came the murmur of 
evensong ; the clocks struck eight, but Hilda did not 
come. Of course it was her feminine privilege to be 
late, yet the half-hour struck before the lady appeared 
not along the street from her rooms, but with a slendei 
congregation of women out of the church. 

" Hilda," he whispered, gazing the while at her sorrow- 
ful, careworn face ; and at the sound of his voice all the 
light of youth and love came back to her eyes, a flush 
of sudden colour suffused her cheeks, while her lip! 
breathed his name. Yet, thinking, perhaps, that hei 
ears deceived her with .some hallucination born of hei 
own thoughts, she would have moved on. 

The man's heart sank within him: "She is flushing 
with anger because I called her name, she won't even 
stop to speak with me." 

" Miss Gault I " he said, respectfully. " Miss Gault ! " 



VERSUS THE CIVILIZED WORLD 273 

He led her up the nave, and she heard as in a mist 
the organ dreaming through some slow voluntary she 

""We hate ri *"' ?'""' "^"'^ «°'"^ °"* -« 5^- 
We have only a few minutes," said Brand. "WiH 

you s.t w.th me here in this pew? My mai yonder 

» guardmg the door, and I war.t to re^rt wharhas 

been done these last few days." 

from'h.r'-fK"**.-";'* '~"' •"" "" f»« w«s hidden 
Iron) him and he did not see. 

" I am so glad you came." 

"Are you? I have good news. To-morrow you will 
J^u "re fon"""-""' ""' ^'""' ""' '^^ °'^^^- '^e mall 

At that she turned and looked him in the face 
h°r fluThfd " ""-"'"P'd °f y- '" A Httlesmile dLple^' 
fZJ ^ ''^^^'' '"''"" """ *t l^^t one tear was 
tnckhng down that way. "You dear stupid-don't 
you— don't you see?" »i"pia— aont 

«rw*" ,*', ^^y ^^'^ *° '"■eak for Brand. "I see 

tr^'y:;'/?^^''''"'^'" oMhisistoogood\;i:- 

"You may." 
He did. 

"You oughtn't to, you know-at least I oughtn't to 
because I'm sti 1 engaged. They told me /ou were 
SrT^cV^T' ^^■"he real you? Let me loollt 
your face. There, take both my hands, and prove that 
you re something better than a dream " 

himsTif "'T'l'u*'''"'"^" ^™^ =''°"t h« and proved 
hjmself real w.th another kiss. "Do you believe me 



274 VERSUS THE CIVILIZED WORLD 

She nodded with an air of complete conviction. 
"You mustn't do it again, though, because "—again 
the old terrible trouble came back into her eyes— 
"to-morrow." ... ,• 

"And the trousseau is ready?" he asked, brutally, 
then wished himself dead for his mistake. 

Freeing herself with a little hopeless cry, she drew 
the cloak about her— her nurse's cloak put on for the 
last time to-night. "Don't torture me," she said, 
bitterly, "to-morrow I am to be married." 

" Yes, darling, married, but not to Gault." 

"You said that before— it isn't true. Oh, you are 
laughing at me, and it's too cruel I " 

And Hilda buried her face in her hands, sobbing. 

For a moment he sat watching her, very uneasy, 
inwardly cursing himself " Stop that," he said, roughly, 
and she obeyed him. "To-night the yacht puts in at 
Boston— my people will wire to Dick Straight." 

« But he's missing ! He's been missing for days and 
days! A week after you left the city he went out on 
an errand for Father Jared— and never came back. 

•> Do you know, dear, when I saw him last his eyes 
had such a strange look— they made him beautiful. I 
saw a picture once of a man who was going to his death 
on the scaffold. He was like that." 

"Poor Dick! Poor Dick I He saved us all. Perhaps 
that was the price he paid for us. There was something 
queer about his letter— the last line made me uneasy 
somehow. Look here— 'So ends t.iy part in this 

game.' ^ i,i 

"But if he lives, dear, I shall find him yet. us 
because I knew he was missing that I have the 
telegrams sent to him from Boston— because I know 
that any wire sent to him will be delivered to Gault. 
The message will be that I have come back, not from 



VERSUS THE CIVILIZED WORLD 275 

Liverpool, but on board the yacht with Colonel 
Giggleswick; that I am in Boston to-night printing 
all sorts of things against him. After he leaves the 
great meeting at the Metropolitan, Gault will take a 
special *-i'n to Boston. When he is gone I have the 

night for r . / work here. In the morning " 

"But I'm to be married at twelve o'clock— don't you 
understand ? " 

"Yes, but before that, when he gets back to New 
York in the morning, wt fight— he and I. Hilda, will 
the bride be ready for the man who wins ? " 
" I will be ready, the wedding is lixed for noon." 
"My wedding," he said, "shall be at eleven o'clock. 
You will be waiting for me in your rooms ? " 
"The men fight," she said, "the women wait." 
He threw his arms about her. "There would be 
nothing worth fighting for but for women." 

"Brand," she said, wistfully, " is it always like this— 
I'm so happy." 
" Because you will belong to me for ever and ever ? " 
" Yes," she shivered, " I never belonged to him." 
" Vou never shall." 

She looked about, feeling that the verger must be 
waiting. « They want to close the church," she said. 

He stood up. " Yes," he .=ighed, " we must go. I'm 
going out by the vestry door for fear of spies— as you 
pass, will you tell my man to follow ? By the way, is 
Fathtr Jared at the Opera House ? " 
"Yes." 

" Good-night, dearest." 

" I lare not keep you longer, Brand. Good-bye." 
" Good-night." 

When Hilda turned into the street the fierce wind 
caught her cloak, lashing the skirt about her knees so 
that she could hardly walk ; and the snow fell uoon her 



276 VERSUS THE CIVILIZED WORLD 

shoulders, glistened in her hair, was flunf; in heavy drii>s 
about her feet. But it was not the cold that brought 
the vivid colour to her face, for the years seemed to have 
rolled away, the lines of care were gone ; the light ol 
love triumphant shone in her eyes. 



CHAPTER XXXIV 

THE SONG OF THE KNIGHTS 

Because the Reformers' Club was closely watched 
Brand climbed the stairs of the tenement building at 
the comer, intending, as he explained to the cowboy to 
reach his own headquarters by way of the roofs. ' 

The squalid stairway, dimly lit with gas, gave at 
every landing upon several doonvays, most of them 
open, disclosing nr jry within. Hilda's door was closed 
and on the step ..ouched something in rags, human 
only in that it saluted Brand with a scream of abject 
fright. ■* 

" Who are you, woman ? " h( sked. " What scared 
you ? " 

Then the thing in rags rose up-the sniffing woman 
the incendiary. "I .bought you was dead," she cried 

bhes out, and this door's locked. What shall I do— 
what shall I do?" She turned fiercely upon him 

Are ye alive, or are ye sent to damn me? Alive i 
Ow could I tell?" she asked. "Shime on ye for 
fnghtenmg honest women. Shime, I say." 

Brand nipped the lady's oratory in the bud. 

" Well, what are you doing in New York ? " 

" Are ye stone blind ? " she cried, "don't you know ? 
Gawd, man ye're too laite I Come, if ye warnt to sive 
btraight from bein' burnt to- 



follow ! 



Quick, then- 



V7 



278 THE SONG OF THE KNIGHTS 

So, running, she led Brand and his attendant down 
the stairs, out into the wild night headlong, screaming 
back to him, " Quick, man ! Quicker ! " through drift 
and darkness, in hideous alleys, along the vilest slums, 
until she drew up at last, breathless, at the end of a 
narrow lane. 

"There, at the fifth backyard on the left— climb the 
wall, break through a windy, turn off the meter under 
the back stairs; then search the 'ouse. Mind ye 
remember the meter ! " 

Brand hastily scribbled a note on some leaves of his 
pocket-book, which he gave to the woman. "Take 
this to Father Jared at the Metropolitan Opera House." 

" She ain't acting square," protested the Snorter, as he 
watched her go; "this is a trap." 

" I'll take the risk," said Brand. " See, there's a man 
running out of that fifth door to raise the alarm. We're 
seen ; go, club him for me." 

The cowboy gave chase, as directed by Brand, who, 
finding the fifth door ajar, went alone into the yard. 
Bursting through the area window, he found himself in 
a dark stone-paved basement kitchen, the air smelling 
strongly of escaped gas. With some difficulty dis- 
covering and turning off the meter, he made his way 
cautiously up the stairs, opening a window on every 
landing, or he must have been suffocated. Indeed, the 
upper part of the house reeked with a stench almost 
impenetrable; but, covering his face with a handker- 
chief. Brand went on, although his head ached almost to 
bursting ; his brain reeled until he could hardly walk. 
Still, staggering like a drunken man, he climbed the 
last stairs; for rest he dared not, seeing a dim light 
aglow in the back garret which must, within a few 
seconds, wrap the house in flames. 

He never knew how he reached that candle to 



THE SONG OF THE KNIGHTS 279 

extinguish it ; only remembered falling headlong after- 
wards, face downwards, upon the floor. But now he 
breathed more freely, awakening from a swoon, relieved 
of the headache, but still only dimly conscious. Then 
a feeble voice called to him, " Brand ! " 

" Is that you, Dick ? " 

" Yes. I'm chained to the floor. Open the window, 
if you can." 

Brand crawled to the window ; but since he could not 
raise the sash, which was fastened with screws, he broke 
several panes of glass. 

Now the cowboy came blundering up the stairs ; and, 
together, he and Brand unscrewed the bolts by which 
Straight was chained to the floor. 

" You saved me, Dick," he grumbled ; " you saved the 
Goliah, you saved the Colonel and his people, why not 
yourself?" 

" We all had to take our chances." 

" How long have you been here ? " 

" Ten days," said Straight, refreshed now with a big 
drink from the cowboy's flask. " They found me out, 
they tortured me, and I'm hungry." 

" A gilt-edged rooster is Mr. Marshall Gault." The 
Arizona Snorter began to relieve himself. " I'll torture 
him, the brass-mounted, pigeon-toed, double-barrelled son 
of a " 

" That's enough," said Brand. " Dick, why didn't the 
building blow up .' " 

" The light was flickering a little when you began to 
open the windows letting in fresh air, then it stopped 
flickering, and I heard you comingtramp — tramp — tramp 
up the stairs. Brand, wasn't it clever— that gas business I 
I'm beginning to have a wholesome respect for Gault. 
Who is this gentleman } " Straight glanced at the cow- 
boy, who was wrenching at the bolts, while Brand brought 



28o THE SONG OF THE KNIGHTS 

all his vast strength to bear on breaking chains. 
" Introduce me." 

Brand smiled, and, resting a moment, presented the 
Arizona Snorter. 

" I remember— foreman of the cowboys. Can't shake 
hands, my friend, and thanks isn't good enough. Look 
here, boys, we must leave this house as you found it 
— to bum — or we shall have the whole gang at our 
heels when we reach the street. There, let's see if I've 
strength to walk. Hark! Do you hear? What's 
that?" 

" Only the back door swinging," said Brand. " Let 
me help you." 

" I can't get up, old chap. Say, are you sure there's 
no one down yonder ? " 

Brand turned to the Snorter. "Did you club that 
man in the alley?" 
" No, I didn't. Why? He beat me running." 
" Hush I " whispered Straight " Listen." 
Brand was down on one knee with his arms about his 
friend, the cowboy standing beside them. Through the 
broken windows came the night wind, howling grey with 
snow, piling white drifts across the floor, which filled the 
garret with a ghostly light ; and from down below came 
sounds of creaking boards ; and then, between the gusts, 
a soft footfall on the stairs ; then many footsteps, 
mingled with a breathing and whispering of men. Brand 
took a sheath knife from his belt, which he gave to 
Straight; the Snorter was flourishing a long bowie. 
Straight, staggering to his feet, threw one arm about the 
cowboy's shoulders, and, reeling to and fro, looked back 
with a smile towards Brand. 

" You're needed to-night down Broadway. See, that 
ladder leads to the roofs ; make haste, while we hold the 
door." 



THE SONG OF THE KNIGHTS 281 

«.un away? ill see you damned first; "then with =. 
hoarse laugh, '• Come, let's fight them I '' ' '"" * 

Is Gault running this attack?" 

nrrlnf^""'- ""'" ""^ *•"= Metropolitan Opera House 
acceptmg his nomination. Father Tar,.rfX T . * 
I've sent to him for help> ^ ^' ^"^ *°°- 

And the footsteps on the stairs were drawing nearer 
Brand, this looks like failure " ^ 

;; You're right, Dick, unless help comes soon." 

s.ai;:?aSs-2u^,ru:;"^^'^^'-^^^ 

to ■/ *''*''' ^^^^ °»' °f °"r hands now. It belongs 
" God." 



oSrchsbvT -^^ *" °''g"'=hy; torn from the 
ongarchsby an aristocracy; won from the aristocrats 

.s'vestedTtf ""' f'''°'''''- ""*"• atIast,kingshS 
LlTf i P°P"''' ^'"- P°"«"l freedom was 

^^ar/jr^Lrerw^S^r^-t^^^ 

at times fLgotten ouf duS ? t."' "^''''' ''*"" ^"^ "°* 

^gtsisadLjfro^tru^J'it^rs^^^^^^^^ 

power sits .11 upon our shoulders, because in the new 



282 THE SONG OF THE KNIGHTS 

pomp of kingship we forget that the sole purport of the 
throne is Justice. 

" I am no pessimist. I have been entrusted with the 
leadership of the Reform party, accepting the nomina- 
tion of that party as their candidate for the Presidency. 
The planks of my platform are — War against social, 
judicial, civic, State and Federal corruption, the awaken- 
ing of our citizens to a sense of their public duties, the 
enforcement of existing laws, the discouragement of use- 
less legislation. I take no sides in the current war 
between Capital and Labour. I fight in the battle 
which ever rages be^veen Right and Wrong. 

" To-morrow morning my record as a citizen, as a 
journalist, and as a man of business, will be set forth in 
my newspaper, the Avenger, together with my political 
programme which is summed up in the word — Reform. 
Not until we are cleansed will I talk of money, tariffs, or 
foreign policy. 

•'Consider this thing well, weigh my words in the 
balance of your judgment, pronounce whether Marshall 
Gault is a fit person to represent the glorious policy of 
Reform. I do not ask you to give a hasty decision to- 
night. Judge me to-morrow, when I stand before the 
great audience of the nation." 

Then, with impassioned eloquence, this great man 
forecasted the future of his people — seeing beyond this 
age of emancipation, beyond the current doctrines of 
spoliation and repudiation beyond the aw^'il struggle 
impending between Labour and Capital, into that 
glorious future when the United States, trained as all men 
and nations must ever be trained in the bitter school of 
suffering, shall seize that heritage of the ages, the mighty 
sceptre of God-given Power. 



THE SONG OF THE KNIGHTS 283 
King!" "*y '^°'' save the 

s.;i ;<r,*j"^ "'"'= '» '=""' °^. -"^ 

the charging column. But though two or three me^ 
were wounded, a dozen sprang into their p a e and " 
another moment an awful silent fight was being waged It 
c ose quarters Brand, with the butt of a reS the 
other two with their knives, for full five minutls held the 
s^,rhead against a score of assailants, but sSy unSer 
the weight of numbers, inch by inch, foot by fj^t thev 
werednven back. Straight fought with fieV^o'-a^^ 

Sh ^■^,1'"*'"^ ■ '""^ '^"^boy with grTm , T 
Brand slow, dehberate, masterful, laughing ft time like 
a boy a. his b ows went home. But the Irishman who 
had begun with all their national joy in a promist^ 
scrimmage, were roused by the loss'^of sever™2 

de°f"ce ™m' *° t '"""^ '^^^ ^^---^ which no mortal 
defence could make much headway. Once the tide 

tTrfoSr^rth^ "r T".^*^ *°^- the dS:„s 

t.n.e to throw themselves behind the garret door; but 



284 THE SONG OF THE KNIGHTS 

the crazy hinges gave at the first rush, and a dozen men 
came headlong into the room. 

Now for a moment there was breathing time, while 
Brand and Straight set their backs against the wall for 
the last stand. The cowboy was badly wounded now, 
indeed, he would have been cut off from the others but 
that Brand, running forward, dragged him under cover, 
just escaping as he did so a slash between the ribs from 
the Irish leader. Straight was wounded across the face, 
but that only roused him to white-hot rage as he covered 
Brand's retreat to the wall. 

Then followed a lull in the big fight, for the Irish were 
arranging their last assault. 

" Say," whispered Straight, " we're done for, old chap 
— booked right through." 

" For service beyond the frontier," was Brand's answer. 

Straight smiled. " Now I can tell you what I never 
could before. I have been all along your partner in 
more than a little— at least we have served her like men." 

"What— you!" 

"Yes, me; and the tie should bind us— afterwards. 
I want to make an appointment with you to-morrow — 
we'll talk these matters over on the other side." 

Brand looked back over his shoulder. " I'll go you," 
he said. " We'll be There presently." 

The cowboy lifted himself up with his arms about 
Brand's legs. "And where do I come in?" 

Both men shook hands with him, but they said nothing, 
having no need of words. 

Their assailants were stirring now, dividing into three 
parties for the attack. 

" Come on, you cowards," cried Brand, " are you going 
to keep us waiting all night ? " 

Still they hesitated. 

" That idiotic song would come in handy," said Straight, 



THE SONG OF THE KNIGHTS 285 

with his familiar half-sneering chuckle. Then he sang 
in a low sweet voice, as though stirred by a tender 
memory of things long passed — 

"Wake from your sleep, 

Rouse ye and fight, 
Clearing the Master's way ; 

Roll back the night, 
Roll back the deep, 

Out, swords, and slay I" 

As Brand took up the song of the Club, the cowboy 
lying at his feet said, " Well, I'll be damned ! ' 

"Sunder Death's gates that we may ride 
Down through the stars to fight. 
Men and the angels, side by side, 
Hosts upon hosts of light ! 

" Sunder Death's gates, and set us free, 
Broaden Life's narrow way, 
Fighting Thy foes and avenging Thee, 
God of the boundless day ! 

"Sunder life's chains as we 'venge Thy name, 
Lend us immortal might, 
Arm us with swords of consuming flame 
God of the deathless right ! 

" Take that," he continued, with a tremendous lunge 
at the nearest assailant, who was flung headlong ; then, 
keeping a space about him with both fists, he sang once 
more, his great manly bass ringing along the rafters 
overhead. 

"Surely the love in thine eyes is light. 

" Broken your jaw, eh ? There ! " he wrenched the 
knife from a big fist within an inch of Straight's ribs. 
" Don't mind me," said Straight. 

" Fear of thine eyes is hell ! 



/•' 



286 THE SONG OF THE KNIGHTS 

"Look out I" 

Straight was down now; the cowboy bleeding and 
senseless between Brand's legs. " You devil I " Brand 
wrenched a black arm till it snapped ; then, in broken 
gasps between the lunges as that last assault closed 
down — 

"There it no — death! There— is no night I 
So that— we— serve Thee— well!" 

Then came a rush and roar of many voices — the song 
of Father Jared's men — as they charged up the stairs to 
his rescue. 

" Far the Lord's right ! 
For the Lord's peace ! 

" Hurrah, boys I One more charge ! Down with 'em ! 
Hurrah I 

" Clearing the Masters way ! 

" He's alive ! He's still fighting I Charge ! 

''Till the night cease, 
In the Lord's light, 
On, swords, and slay ! " 



CHAPTER XXXV 

THE ARMING OF BRAND HARALDSON 

AT midnight Father Jared sat in his bare «)oni 
JTlnT^'''!' crucifix „ed on the whitewXd 
d^LlV ^? 'ay Straight, ve^, clean and tidy, his 
utTL ■ 'f'V"''' •"■' ^'^' '•"■' «y« fastened 
frl , i ^"^1\ ^"''"^ ^''' ""'"e t*-" »'d -nan's pipe 
from a jar of tobacco on the side table; but he moved 
sfffly because of the bandages swathed round hTs left 
arm h.s nght thigh, and his head. " Your pipe sir '_ 

friedl"^ l" "*' P"r'' P'"*"""g '■' ^y the Stem, then 
tr ed to strike a match on his trousers, but desisted with 
a little grunt of pain. " Can't do it " 
Straight chuckled. 

can'J"5o h r ""'^^^^"^^^ prerogative of man. and you 

"Try the stove," said the priest ; and presently as he 

aS'Tndr^-''^*'''''* '°'"'^°' "Sit down.ld res? 
fnT^T' ^^"°'^ I suppose you want to know how we 
found you. Well. I was at the Metropolitan, in the 
grand t.er w.th Miss Hilda, and all over the house wire 
my^Reformers by twos and threes, at least a hundred of 

somSel'^l" ^°""^ ^•''"" ^^"^ ^'''''^'^ h'^ oration 
at wrltfly^ """ P"' ""'° ^'' '^'"'^' ^''■^'' ^'^ g'^'"=«=d 

"did'^helJoT"'"""^ ''''" ""^ *° ^°'"°"'" '"'"^ B«"d; 
»87 



388 THE ARMING OF BRAND HARALDSON 

" Yes, rather in a hurry, and, of course, my tracksri 
shadowed him to the depAt. He left New York, as 1 
learned just now, without any further news reachlnf 
him. Then came a message for me, and in the vestibuli 
was our poor firebug woman wild with excitement. I'n 
sorry to say that Miss Hilda had to go home withou 
escort" 
And he fell into a reverie. 
"Well, sir?" 

" Oh, yes, you want to know the rest ? Well, I los 
no time, lads. I never thought that at my time of life 
should see such fighting. I took a detachment with m 
of likely men. Why, it was like the mutiny days, whe 
we felt like youBg gods. 'Remember Cawnpore, yo 

si Remember Cawnpore!'" 

"Oh, Father Jaredl This is terrible!" Straigl 
winked a sleepy wink towards Brand. " Think of oi 
morals ! ' 

" Never mind your morals," the priest stood up, wayir 
his pipe in quick gesticulation, " we thought of the litt 
lady at Windsor, we thought about the dead childre 
in the Slaughter House, the women waiting at tl 
Residency— and when the breach was blown in the wa 
all smoke and brickbats, a raw-legged Highlander shov( 
me out of the way, but I clutched him by the kilt f 
my transport I was the eighth man through the wa 
and we fought two thousand while the rest poured 
yelling for more elbow room." His voice sank, and 1 
went on in a broken whisper, "Two thousand of the 
lying about in heaps, under the blue night; then car 
the grey streak in the east, and we heard a bug 
sounding reveille from the Residency." 

Brand helped him back into his chair, where -he 1 
for a minute with closed eyes, and only a little fluti 
under the rusty cassock showed that the brave old hei 



THE ARMING OF BRAND HARALDSON 289 

.till lived in him. " Our little scrimmage." «iid Brand. 
" was tame compared with that." 

« Not so bad. either." The priest was judicial. " I was 
first up those stairs I And now, young men, I notice in 
you, a bad sign, a very bad sign; indeed, this absurd 
love of fighting-understand "-the priest was majestic 
- I wont have it. This fighting is all wrong-the 
New Testament teems with instances to the poi'f 
besides." he held up his thin, transparent hands to 
the stove, "there's this awful butcher's bill to face 
to-morrow." 
Brand smiled to himself. 

"Yes. you may well smile," the old man was indie- 
nant; "one would think you owed me, at least, some 
consideration. Can't you deliver a left-hander without 
breaking men's jaws and giving them concussion of the 
brain ? And there's that wretched cowboy in Dick's 
room— Mrs. Papps is doubtful if he'll pull through— told 
me that you-you Brand-monopolized all the fighting 
so that he couldn't get a blow in anywhere. Between 
you you've managed to kill three-and wound seven 
For which we shall be answerable when the thintr is 
discovered-probably to-morrow. Really, you must be 
more careful." 

The old man looked severely at each of the culprits 
but finding Straight drowsy and the other sufficiently 
penitent, could not withhold a gay little laugh " It 
was a good fight on the whole-a very good fight, but 
1 think I can improve that hymn considerably." 

The clock struck one, and there was silence in the 
house save that in Straight's room the cowboy lay 
raying in delirium, and Mrs. Papps bustled about him 
with iced bandages. 

" I must be going," said Brand, wearily, " I'm all ready 
now for the last big fight of all " 
u 



290 THE ARMING OF BRAND HARALDSOI 

« Not yet," Mid the priest, " not yet." 
Until a moment ago Straight had clanked with ever 
movement, by reason of the handcuRs, with loose enc 
of chain, still on his wrists until a blacksmith should fi 
them open ; bui. now the morphia had taken effect, an 
lie slept heavily. 

" Vou are going, Brand," the old man spoke quietl 
aim Jt in whispers, " to fight the last great fight of « 
with Marshall Gault. Be merciful, my son, rememb 
that all your mighty strength goes for nothing with oi 
Judge unless you are merciful. Remember that y< 
are only attacking a big mirror that reflects the evil 
our civilization— for Gault is so far the very emboci 
ment of his Age. Blame not the man, but the Age th 
produced him ; judge not the part, but the whole ; an 
above all things, be merciful. 

" He is no mere criminal, because criminals are ii 
perfect men, lacking certain faculties from their bin 
Indeed, he is singularly perfect in body and intellec 
to-night he spoke to us like one inspired. He is 
sublime genius gone astray for lack of a mast 
Unhappily, unless a man be radiant with the reflect! 
of the Divine, he casts a shadow commensurate wi 
his mei.tal stature; and the shadow of Gault cai 
twilight upon this nation. So must he perish ; and y( 
Brand, are entrusted with the fearful mission of 1 
undoing, that the light may shine again upon the earl 
" You must not let me preach so much, my son, o 
shall bore you, and too much talking is bad. Dii 
here, I have preached asleep. Now 'hat I have got i 
two sons back from the grave I cannot part with eitl 
of you." 
" Father, th>.i man's a hero." 
" My son," ; aid the old man, not heeding him, " y 
fight for the welfare cf the human race, looking beyo 



THE ARMING OF BRAND HARALDSON 391 

the preient throei of djng sin to that age when 
Chri»ti«i altniifm shall have trained man for an age 
of mightier competition, more glorious victories ; when 
earth shall be subdued, the Heavens scaled; when 
darkness shall be no more in that city of Promise whose 
foundations are of light, whose streets are of gold like 
unto clear glass, where the Tree of Life is for the healing 
of the nations, and in the midst of a sea of glory stands 
the visible throne of the Most High. 

"Kneel," said the priest. 

Brand bent his knee to the ground. 

"As one who had covered himself with steel mail, so 
put you on righteousness as a breast-plate and the 
garments of His vengeance for your dothinft. Take 
unto you the whole armour of God, that yoi.' may be 
able to withsund in the evil day, and, having done all 
to stond— your Iiins girt about with truth, and having 
on the breast-plate of righteousness ; and your feet shod 
with the preparation of the gospel of peace; and, above 
all, taking the shield of faith. 

"And Uke you the helmet of wlvation, and the sword 
of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 

" I will put upon you no other ! . .rden. Go forth, my 
son. to war, wrestling ..ot against flesh and blood, but 
against principalities, against powers, against the rulers 
of the darkness of the worid, against spiritual wickedness 
in high places. 

"Go forth, my son. to war, and may the Almighty 
liod have mercy upon you, now and for ever." 



V 2 



CHAPTER XXXVI 



THE LAST GREAT BATTLE 

A WONDERFUL region was the Avenger huMing.whcre 
night after night, a great newspaper was written, com- 
posed, and manufactured ready for delivery to the public 
long before the earliest bird was awake, or the stupidest 
worm abroad to take the air. Far aloft, in the fifteenth 
and sixteenth stories, sat the editorial staff, scribbling 
busily ; while the reporters and the special telegraph 
instruments brought in their news from the world. All 
manuscript accepted was shot through a pneumatic tube to 
the upper basement, arriving in the composing-room like 
a bullet out of a gun. This composing-room was very 
large, brilliantly lighted, walled, ceiled, and floored with 
fine white tiles. At one end were the proof readers' 
cages, reference library, and foreman's office; at the 
other end a gas-engine, a lavatory, and a refectory. 
Down the midst of the room stood fifty type-setting 
machines, at each of which one man could do the work 
of five old-fashioned compositors ; at one side were 
presses for "proofs"; at the other, type-setters' cases 
for correction of errors, and a long table where the 
columns of type were locked into frames of steel. Each 
of these " formes," representing a page of the newspaper, 
was thrust complete through a slit in the wall, and the 
work of the department was ended. 

Is this very dull ? Dry the details may be to exas- 
peration, and yet one must understand the manufacture 
392 



THE LAST GREAT BATTLE 293 

of a daily newspaper in order to comprehend what 
followed. 

The frame of type delivered from the composing-room 
through a slit in the wall came at once into another 
jurisdiction, finding itself on the moulders' table. Here 
this sheet of metal was covered with a slab of damp 
cardboard, which was beaten with a wooden mallet, 
called the " flong," until the substance of pulp took an 
exact impression of all the type. A heavy roller deep- 
ened the impress, a hot press dried the cardboard, now 
known as a matrix. For such a large circulation as that 
of the v4z/^«^,?/- eight such matrices were taken of every 
page. 

At two o'clock on the morning of the tenth of 
December Haraldson sat alone in the little glass-walled 
office of the foreman of this department ; that is to say 
of Mr. Pederson, the chief stereotyper; and beside him' 
on the floor stood a large portmanteau. He was very 
pale, for the trifling flesh wounds were smarting tremen- 
dously ; he wore a felt hat to hide the bandage round 
his head, 'he heavy pilot coat gashed here and there, 
and, stained in places with fresh blood, hardly sufficed 
even in the hot room to keep him from shivering. 

"No smoking allowed," he growled, with a glance at 
the notice on the door. " That's one for Gault No 
harm in a dry pipe "—he took an empty briar from his 
pocket, and, clapping the stem between his strong white 
teeth—" that's one for me ; but now "—he saw the chief 
stereotyper coming over from the moulders' table— "the 
fight begins ! " 

The foreman of the department was, like Brand, a fair 
Scandinavian ; but his face was hard, sour, morose, as 
though he had blundered all his life through doubt and 
disappointment. Nevertheless, he spoke with a sort of 
wintry cordiality. 



ft' 



294 



THE LAST GREAT BATTLE 



" Glad to see you back, Mr. Haraldson, though," he 
stared unpleasantly, "you don't look any better for your 
trip. Curious, you've been in the wars again I " 

" Only a scrapping match," said Brand ; " and, as to 
the trip, it was no holiday. I've been away on special 
service preparing this." 

On catching sight of the portmanteau, which Brand 
now opened, the foreman bristled, but said nothing until 
he had inspected its contents — a sheaf of paper moulds 
— "matrices," such as were being prepared on the 
moulders' table. 

"indeed, Mr. Haraldson I" All human feeling hrd 
vanished from the man, leaving him uncompromising oud 
official as a letter-box. 

"Ask no questions, Mr. Pederson," said the other 
frankly," and I'll tell no lies. My orders are to deliver 
these to you ; they are to replace eight pages of to-night's 
issue." 

" This is absurd ! " 

" Here "—Brand presented a written order, in which 
the numbers of the pages were clearly given — " is this 
absurd ? " 

Taking a case from his pocket, Mr. Pederson drew out 
a pair of spectacles, strong-lensed, and put them on with 
slow deliberation ; then, glaring at the order, his harsh 
face moved now with extreme excitement. " Signed— 
Marshall Gault." Then, looking up, " This is a forgery.' 

" It is— a forgery — to justify you afterwards at my 
expense." 

" I shall not need," said the foreman, freezingly, " tc 
be justified. I am an honest man." 

" Glad to hear it, Mr. Pederson— wish I were. Now 
don't be a hypocrite ; you know well enough that you're 
only a slave of the Frailty- Avenger machine, run by Mr 
Clewston-Gault." 



THE LAST GREAT BATTLE 



295 



The foremrn laughed 

"Do you remember," said Brand, incisively, "one 
night you found me out there in the passage, wounded ? " 

"Eh?" 

" I'd just found Gault in the Frailty office, disguised 
as Clewston. He stabbed me." 

" But this is incredible." 

" It is, that you, a member of the Reformers' Club, 
should belong to the Frailty-Avenger machine, which is 
Tammany, which runs the Irish murder gang for the 
drowning of women and children, which is turning New 
York into a crime-farm in the name of philanthropy. 
Remember your oath at the Club. What about your 
screeching at us over the ' King ' steamers, and Gault's 
speculations in blood ? " 

" Mr. Haraldson," the man had lost all self-control, but 
still clung manfully to the one shred left him of 
certainty ; " whatever you say of the man who employs 
us both, while I am in his service I obey his orders." 

" The Devil's orders. I mistook you for a man, for a 
member of the Reformers' Club, sworn to smash Dr. 
Clewston — Dr. Clewston-Gault. Come, will you use these 
moulds, or will you not ? " 

" But suppose I were to — what would happen ? " 

" Why this, you ring the bell for your boy, and send 
word to the moulder's table that certain pages," Brand 
gave the numbers of them, " are to be brought to you 
here when they're ready." 

The foreman looked doubtfully at Brand, who could 
be so cool, so competent, so masterful, while he proposed 
a seemingly enormous crime. 

" And then ? " 

" You examine the moulds for an error, then take each 
set of them — I'll give you the right ones — and carry them 
out to the casting boxes." 



ii 



296 



THE LAST GREAT BATTLE 



"And then?" 

"The stereotypes will be cast from my moulds — 
sent to the machine-room, bolted on the cylinders of 
the rotary presses, and the first copy of the paper — 
ah I" 

" Will land you in penitentiary, Mr. Haraldson." 

" Will go up to the night editor. That's all right. I'll 
fix him." 

" And the second copy goes to the foreman of the 
machine minders." 

" To be glanced at as a proof of the press work — that's 
all right" 

" But all the editorial staff get their copies." 

" No. That's not allowed now. Didn't you know .' 
Our special news used to leak into country papers. 
Now the staff go straight home to bed. Where's your 
boy?" 

" Wonderful I " cried the foreman, carried away by the 
perfection of the plot even in detail, "and yet," his face 
became clouded again, " my wife— my children — what's 
to become of them ? " 

" After to-morrow we will start a new paper that shall 
tell the truth — will that provide for you ? " 

" You will provide for — but you " 

" You doubt my word," said Brand. " Can you trust 
Father Jared ? " 

" I can't do it ! I can't do it ! Mr. Haraldson, 
this treachery — I've always tried to be an honest 
man." 

" Be honest, then," said Brand, impatiently. " You call 
yourself a Socialist. Who claims your duty first ? The 
capitalist ? " 

" The people." 

"And Clewston-Gault is the enemy of the 
people." 



THE LAST GREAT BATTLE 29; 

The man rocked to and fro upon the stool, his face 
expressionless as a mask, and he repeated the words 
like a machine : '' Is the enemy of the people." 

Brand reached forward, his elbows resting on his knees 
the empty pipe stiff between his teeth— his eyes staring 
up mto the other's face. "Then," he said, "you take 
sides with me?" 

" I can't ! I daren't ! I don't understand." 

" Mr. Pederson," said Brand, pointing at the forged 
order, « if this is forgery, it's my forgery ; if the business 
is treacherous, it's my treachery. I don't want you to 
dare, or to think, or to understand." 

Mr. Pederson was silent, but his lips worked, the 
perspiration stood in great drops upon his face. 

" Come," said Brand, roughly, "you're wasting my time. 
Ring that bell." ' 

The foreman climbed down off the stool, and, tremb- 
ling violently, pressed both hands upon the electric 
bell. 

Brand leaned back with a little sigh of relief, as the 
office boy came in. 

" Johnny," said the foreman, looking back at the boy 
over his shoulder, " bring me the next matrix— all the 
copies. I want them here." 

"Yes, sir," said the boy, and ran to the moulder's 
table. 



Brand turned as he left the stereotyper's department, 
and stood for a moment in the doorway to see how the 
work was proceeding. Yes, all had gone well without 
theawakeningof any suspicion, the press-men would be 
too busy save for a casual glance at the quality of the first 
imprints, the Avenger would be sent forth without com- 
ment, save that it was a heavy edition, the copies would be 



III 



398 



THE LAST GREAT BATTLE 



delivered by tens of thousands. New York would awaken 

in a few short hours, and then 

Sick at the thought of what must follow he went away 
through the passage between the printing and stereo 
departments, from whence stairs led up to the street. In 
a dark alley near by he gave orders that one of the cow- 
boys was to shadow Mr. Pederson home, the remainder 
staying on guard around the building. On Gault's 
arrival a message was to be sent by the night porter to 
Jimmy, the night editor's office. 

Half-an-hour later he went round to the front door of 
the Avenger building. The editorial staff and all the 
reporters had by this time departed to their homes, so 
that Brand went up to the lift without meeting anybody 
except the night porter, who congratulated him on his 
restored health, hoped he had enjoyed the trip to Liver- 
pool, and silently wondered a little why the Fighting 
Editor, a mere passenger on the Goliah, just returned, 
should find it needful to adopt a sailor's pea-jacket but- 
toned close up to the throat. 

Brand found his friend, the night editor, just entered 
upon his lonely watch, with a first copy of the Avenger 
spread out before him. He was reading the supplement 
line after line laboriously, yet, as Brand could see, in 
utter apathy. 

"Jimmy?" 

The man looked up, and his eyes were full of tears. 

" Go home, Jimmy, I ta're your duty to-night." 

" I was praying for that " — the small man's face 
became radiant, " I was praying hard— you don't 
laugh at me ! Ah ! You've been sent as an answer to 
my prayer. She's dying, Mr. Haraldson— my little, 
little sister, and she's only a child— she doesn't under- 
stand what it means. And I here— helpless— bound to 
my chair when I ought to be at her side. How good of 



THE LAST GREAT BATTLE 



299 



you to come— just like you, Mr. Haraldson. Let me go 
to her. Oh, you don't know how grateful I am I " 
When the little man had gone Brand was busy for an 
hour in the parts of the building adjacent to Gault's 
locked office. He was busy with tools such as are used 
by electric-line repairers— but not repairing. Then he 
was left alone with the special edition of the Avenger, 
which turned him sick when he thought of it. He sat 
down in Jimmy's den, at Jimmy's desk— poor Jimmy- 
thrown out of work to-morrow when there's a funeral to 
pay for ; and all the sub-editors, reporters, compositors, 
press-men, messengers, newsboys, drivers, clerks— thrown 
out of work by this thing he held in his hands, the final 
number of the Avenger. Then there were the hosts of 
evil-doers laid naked by this paper— drawn to the life 
with hideous fidelity— in banks, railway companies, 
shipping companies, insurance companies, mining com- 
panies ; commercial transgressors, political transgressors, 
social transgressors, with all their employees and de- 
pendents hurled suddenly to ruin. From the President 
—whom it is well to say again is not the present or late 
incumbent of that office— down to the little ragged boys 
in the streets, the sword of Justice spared neither age 
nor rank, nor reputation, nor poverty, nor sorrow. And 
then the commercial panic that must come at the open- 
ing of the Stock Exchange, the shattering of public and 
private credit, the breaking down of that confidence in 
men which is the foundation of commerce — it was awful ! 

Brand threw himself over the desk where the paper 
lay, burying his head in his arms. 

Down in the basements the engines rumbled, the 
great presses revolved ponderous, grinding out the 
"autobiography" of Mr. Gault, sending forth the news 
of another public god fallen shattering from the pedestal 
of Fame. 



300 



THE LAST GREAT BATTLE 



Hour after hour the Avenger special edition was, as 
Gault had promised, being distributed in tens and hun- 
dreds of thousands, so that all the audience of the nation 
might be able to judge of his fitness to represent them 
as President 

But Brand was wondering, incoherently, how long 
there should be shadows on the earth to shelter dragons ; 
how long there should be darkness to breed foul crea- 
tures such as Gault, warring against mankind. Shadow 
is but a circumstance of Time cast by the waves of the 
sea, by clouds, by night, by wandering bodies in the 
fields of space, that men may know how beautiful is the 
light. Likewise, in the glory of the Almighty, men's 
souls cast a shadow called sin ; yet there shall come a 
time when the shadows will pass away, and Light 
prevail 

So the dawn broke upon that day of reckoning, the 
clouds drifted asunder as the red sun rose to light a 
black Atlantic, a snowy continent, to shine upon the 
windows of the Metropolis, awakening the people 
from their sleep. 

At their breakfast tables the people read, indiflferent 
first, curious, interested, chuckling over choice bits of 
scandal — enthralled, amazed, affrighted, panic-stricken 
as the truth came home to them. Leaders discredited, 
financial credits impugned — Marshal'. Gault none other 
than Rex Clewston ! Everything evil in organized 
labour, everything foul in organized capital, everything 
sinister in the commonwealth centred in this master of 
crime ; this great philanthropist, who, as chief of the 
Reform Party aspired to the Presidency of the Republic. 

But the daylight was pouring now into this pit of 
darkness, the sun was rising unclouded upon the State, 
and in God's sunshine there is no place for dragons. 

Brand looked down from the window and saw a crowd 



THE LAST GREAT BATTLE 



301 



gathering in front of the building, gazing up in silence 
at the silent house— a mob which began to trample 
down the snow in City Hall Park, spreading until all 
the open space was iilled, until all the street approaches 
were barred. 

It was a mob typical of America— of world-devouring 
Anglo-Saxons for leaders; swart watching Japanese; 
strong Teutons who must needs think before they can 
act ; Slavs pushing their way in from behind ; Latins 
crowded out, shouldered back to the rear— that gather- 
ing seemed an epitome of civilization. And what had 
civilization to say to Marsliall Gault, as his carriage 
made its slow way to the Avenger doors ? Civilization 
saw itself mirrored in that man, and, hating the ruthless 
truth of the picture, greeted him with a low muttering of 
rage. Civilization desires to be good— hopes to deal 
justly— craves earnestly for righteousness; but it is a 
straight, a narrow way that leadeth unto life. Civiliza- 
tion only learns the right way after every possible 
wrong way has been tried, but hates the wrong ways 
nevertheless. And the guide who leads in the wrong 
way must perish. The police were relieved when Mr. 
Gault gained the door of the Avenger building in safety. 

Gault, after his return from Boston, had dressed and 
taken breakfast at his Club. Now, at nine o'clock, he 
came to his office, an hour before the usual time, lest his 
day's work should be slighted on account of the wedding 
at noon. His personal staff would not be on duty for 
half-an-hour yet, so he rang for the night editor, and 
commenced to look over the private correspondence. 
He could not read his letters. What had offended the 
mob? His wedding, the sensation of to-day, his 
speech, the great sensation of last night ? When the 
door opened, doubtless to admit the night editor, he did 
not look up. 



303 



THE LAST GREAT BATTLE 



" You can leave the paper," he said. " Stay. What 
is the crowd in the square ? " 

Brand could not answer. This easy unconsciousness 
of his enemy, blindfold still on the instant verge ol 
destruction, made his flesh creep with horror. 

Mr. Gault looked up, turned white, and sat still 
drumming his heavy fingers on the desk. 

" Well," he said at last, " what are you doing here i 
Who told you to thrust yourself into my privacy ? " 

" I took over the night editor's work." The evasior 
seemed cowardly, but Brand could not break his adver- 
sary without at least some warning of the coming blow 
" Besides, Mr. Gault, look out for trouble I " 

Gault laughed a little. "My blackmailing editor i: 
going to strike I " 

" Mr, Gault, you know I saved the Goliah from youi 
infernal machines ; you know I never went to Liverpool 
you know that the message which took you to Bostot 
last night was only a ruse to get you out of my way." 

" I am much obliged, Mr. Haraldson, but as you sei 
your kind intentions have not postponed my wedding 
so, doubtless, you have come to confess your failure." 

" >Io, not for that The great big mob outside, o 
people who have read the Avenger this morning — ^th( 
edition which I printed after I lured you out of th( 
way " 

From the street below came a roar as of far-awa} 
thunder, and Gault stretched out his hand. 

" Give me that paper." 

Brand gave the paper, and, walking over to the tw( 
doors, he locked them, then crossed to the windows 
where he stood looking out over the snow-clad city 
And all the while he thought of the newsboys deliver 
ing their tale of damning print — the mob that wa: 
getting beyond all control — the end that was ooming 



THE LAST GREAT BATTLE 303 

What G«ult turned over the sheets one by one— slowly, 

patiently— reading here and there, and knew that his 
power was crumbling away, as a dream melts at sun- 
rise. That dream had been the mastery of the world. 
It may be that some day this planet will awaken after 
the great big dream of life, and be once more a lonely 
mite wandering— a speck in a ray of sunlight icily 
cold. 

There was no sound in the room save the slow turn- 
•ng of pages, one by one. Had there been an explosion 
of rage to face. Brand would have been glad of that ; 
had there been fighting to do, it would have warmed his 
blood. But the triumph seemed such a poor thing— the 
man overthrown so great— the fall so terrible. Gladly 
would he have gone back to the beginning of the fight ; 
gladly even failed, because the silence of his enemy was 
not broken. 

At last he knew that Gault was reaching across the 
desk to his speaking-tube. " I have broken that," he 
said, without looking round. " I have cut all the wires, 
blocked the ventilator shaft, and locked the doors. You 
and I are alone." 

And then he turned to face his adversary, wondering, 
because Gault was changed— no longer in the prime of 
life, but old— so old I Deep lines scarred his face ; his 
coal-black haft- was visibly streaked with grey ; his eyes 
were sunken in impenetrable shadow. Then, quietly, 
almost below his breath, he spok;, while every scornful 
word struck like the lash of a whip. 

"You I You I What have you done? You, one of 
the puppets I played with, one of the pawns upon my 
board, fed with my bounty, a starveling from the streets, 
the Revolversburg fool given bread to eat as a favour to 
Miss Gault— you, with your lofty airs and your small 
treachery, what have you done ? 



304 



THE LAST GREAT BATTLE 



" 1 Iwd begun a work which was beyond all parallel 
in the hiftory of the world. I, itrar:rling crime with 
my strong hands, making all crimii .is my slaves by 
turning their m'^uided powers to great uses. I, sweep- 
ing clean the rocks of an old civilization, was laying the 
foundations, building up the walls of a new order. 

" You, seeing things which were beyond your under- 
standing, possessed with •'n ape-like ease of mischief, a 
little dangerous knowledge of the use of fire, have set 
my empire in flames." 

Far down below the roar of voices swelled to loud 
thunder, mingled at times with the clash of broken 
glass ; now could be heard the crash of an improvised 
battering-ram against the street door ; then, while these 
two men listened, the vestibule was carried with a yell 
of triumph, and a raging mob began to sack the Enquiry 
Office. 

Brand moved a step nearer to the desk. "Mr. 
Gault." 

" Well ? " 

" I don't understand, I knc\ very little ; but wouldn't 
it have been better if these walls had not been raised 
upon a foundation of lies ? I did not come to argue, or 
to triumph. I fought you first for a woman, and to-day 
I shall marry her, because she loves me ; but I don't 
want to hurt you more than I can help even now. For 
the rest, can ^ u believe me if I say that I fought not 
you personally, but what you repres .nt ? " 

Gault made no answer ; and for some minutes Brand 
stood waiting for him to speak. A peal of musketry 
rang out across the square, fired by State troops for 
a warning. The mob broke and ran ; the police and 
the soldiers took possession ; but already dense clouds 
of smoke darkened the windows, because the Frailty 
Investigation Offices next door had been set on fire, 



THE LAST GREAT BATTLE 



305 



and a column of flame was rolling up the ventilator 
shaft between the two buildings. 

Gault rose from his chair, trembling a little. It was 
the first time he had left his seat since Brand's coming. 
" Marshall Gault cannot be entirely overthrown ; while 
he lives there is no safety for you. Now go." 

Brand turned as he went out of the room, saw his 
great adversary sitting rigid with strong jaws clenched, 
staring into space. 

He left the door wide open. 



CHAPTER XXXVII 



AN UPPER CHAMBER 



There were officers in the vestibule, troops drawn u 
on the further side of the street, firemen by the hundrec 
fighting with their freezing streams from the hydrant 
their ladders, towers, and engines, lest the flames shoul 
spread from the doomed Clewston offices to Gault 
huge marble palace of the Avenger. They did nc 
know of the ventilator shaft, now a white-hot furnao 
opening into the rooms of the Cyclone Explosivt 
Syndicate. Brand answered several officials who quei 
tioned him : " Yes, Gault had probably left." H 
knew of back stairs leading to a subway and thence t 
certain warehouses across the back lane ; but of this h 
said nothing. No, he was not Gault's secretary, but h 
late Fighting Editor, at their service. On giving h 
private address he was allowed pass. 

At the Broadway corner the cowboys reported, an 
shortly afterwards came the Colonel, Captain Baxei 
dale. Captain Browne, the master of the launch, an 
all their followers. With the officers he left directioi 
that breakfast should be served to all hands, an 
appointed a rendezvous for paying off at the Clu 
that day, lest after his arrest for last night's fightir 
his men should go penniless. The "boys" wante 
to make a demonstration, but this he forbade, beir 
unwilling to outrage tha feelings of those for whoi 
306 



AN UPPER CHAMBER 



307 



the day was one of suffering and loss. Indeed, as he 
went on his way atone, walking down through the 
business quarter before going northward, his heart 
ached To." the people. Throngs of anxious creditors 
w. (•; siienlly '.^^sieging the banks ; Wall Street was 
b) cVfd from .nd to end with a panic-stricken mob; 
th .' whole financial quarter was jammed with men ; 
in Broadway, all ordinary business was suspended. 
Even this was but the beginning, for very few trains 
had been able to break their way through deep snow 
from the suburbs, and not half the Avenger sub- 
scribers had their paper delivered owing to the im- 
passable condition of the streets. Copies were already 
selling at a dollar each at the curbstone ; by noon 
five dollars would hardly secure one. Scraps of ill 
news were flying through the crowd — a well-known 
broker had shot himself, so and so would not take 
down the shutters this morning ; Messrs. Blank had 
closed their doors, certain stocks in which Gault had 
been interested could find no buyers. One old French 
needlewoman Brand saw shouldered out of her place 
in the queue at a banker's doors, and coming closer, 
found her wild with fear as to her savings, yet, having 
forgotten breakfast in her haste, too weak to stand. 
He got her a cup of cofiee, with one for himself to 
keep her in countenance. Now Madame has betaken 
her brave, cheery little self to a House of Mercy, 
where she patters of her husband at rest in a very 
fashionable cemetery, also of Brand Haraldson, but 
mainly of Brand, they say, who gave her coffee. This 
matter of the French woman is only one story among 
thousands, because most of the people wading in the 
slush of Broadway came to their ruin that day. It was 
the same old game of 1837 and 1873 and 1892, a 
period of buoyant credulity abruptly ended in one 



3o8 



AN UPPER CHAMBER 



great cataclysm, to be followed by painful years c 
retrenchment. And Brand had caused this thing- 
surely the man who does God's surgery must no 
be squeamish. Prolonged excitement and want c 
sleep had left him dull, too exhausted to feel mor 
than the heavy aching of his neglected wounds; ur 
able, happily, to think much about anything; bi 
when, arriving at the tenement house, he went u 
to meet his bride, all that was changed, new lif 
had come to him. Well might his haggard face b 
flushed, well might he throw back his shoulders i 
pride, well might his eyes shine, for Hilda vas ver 
fair, shrinking back a little in sweet confusion, thei 
throwing her arms about his neck in joy of delivei 
ance and in utter trust. She was arrayed for h< 
marriage, not in the bridal dress prepared for Gaul 
but just as he had always known and loved her, i 
the severe uniform of her calling. 

" The trousseau. Brand ? No, that was for him. Ai 
you sure that I am free — really free?" 

" No, Hilda, never free while I live. You are boun 
more strongly now than ever before." 

" But a woman," she whispered, " loves these swe( 
chains, that nobody else can see, nobody wear." 

" Come," said the man, " and let me bind them fast.' 

On their way down-stairs they stopped to look from 
window, down through the winter mist and dense smok 
toward the lower parts of the city, where there burne 
a great fire. 

" Poor things," said Brand, " they don't know what 
good for them. His love gets red-hot at times like th 
blazing sword that kept the first two sinners out ( 
mischief." 

Hilda looked up into his face. "He touches H 
servants with the sword— the ones that love Him. Yc 



AN UPPER CHAMBER 



309 



He touched upon the shoulder with the accolade of His 
Knighthood." 

" It's smarting still," grumbled the man, thinking of 
Gault's knife, and the three new wounds of last night. 
" Say, Hilda, that fire's getting worse ; I guess it's spread 
to the Avenger block." 

" The Dragon's house— did you— is he dead, Brand ? " 

" Very much alive when I left him, but harmless." 

"For the present — until he grows more teeth. I 
suppose Dragons are but part of the economy of Nature, 
fulfilling some wise end. He was my foster brother." 

An enormous column of flame rose up to heaven, as 
the Avenger building fell, then the rumbling echoes 
gradually died away. 

" I forgot that that might happen," said Brand gravely. 
" The Liberators kept a stock of explosr'ves there. So 
that is the end." 

" And the beginning ? " 

" Come, let's go." 



In the upper room of the Club were gathered the men 
who had fought against the Dragon, members of the 
house, and their guests. Colonel Giggleswick, Captain 
Baxendale, Captain Browne, and all their following from 
the yacht, for this was Brand's wedding-day. When he 
came in with his bride they would have cheered, but, 
warned by Dr. Schmitt, consented to remain quite quiet ; 
and Brand, looking about while he shook hands with 
many tried and valued friends, saw that two — the 
sorest tried of all — were not present. 

"Where is Dick ? " he asked. 

" Coming in a few minutes." 

He turned to Dr. Schmitt to enquire concerning the 
Arizona cowboy wounded last night in his defence. 



310 



AN UPPER CHAMBER 



" Your friend," said the Doctor reverently, " has bcei 
admitted to a better company than this. That's why a) 
the boys are so quiet." 

" If we could only see him," answered Brand, " he i 
here. I want you to have a seat reserved for him a 
one of the tables, and let I's get this matter finishei 
quickly. I may be arrested presently on a chaise c 
murder. I killed three men last night." 

The crowd parted on either side of the door, makini 
way as six men came in, carrying Dick Straight upo: 
a bed. 

" Lay the bed here," said Brand, " before the curtains, 

He took the sick man's hands in both his owi 
"We had an appointment this morning; we two- 
we didn't expect to meet here." 

" No," said StraJght. " If I'd been on the Other Sid 
you wouldn't have kept the appointment, so " — he sighe 
— " I waited. Have you killed that Dragon ? Ah, hei 
is the Princess." 

Hilda greeted him very shyly, very much emba; 
rassed; then, to hide her confusion, began, nurse-lik 
to take charge of the patient while she shook the pillo 
and maJe things comfortable. 

" Never mind the pillows," said Straight gaily ; " you'\ 
shamed me. Miss Gault, for I'm to be Haraldson's bei 
man to-day, and the p'llows are not intended for tt 
best man. His business "—he took a big bunch i 
orchids from a boy who had carried them—" is to brie 
flowers." 

There were tears in the woman's eyes as she took tl 
flowers, and one big tear fell upon his face as she bei 
down and kissed him. 

"That tear," said Straight, "belongs to me. Mi 
Gault." 

Straight looked up at them both with a derisn 



AN UPPER CHAMBER 



3" 



chuckle. "The days of chivalry have indeed come 
back." 

"Rubbish!" cried Brand. Then, turning to the 
crowd : " The days of chivalry are only the days of 
manhood." 

Since he had come in he had looked gaunt and 
haggard again, his cheeks sunken, his hard eyes dark 
with pain, but now as he spoke the fighting blood surged 
in him, and he stood before these men, triumphant. 
" Men ! Men I there's lots of work for men ! Go out 
into the world and preach the Gospel to every poor 
duffer that hasn't got it — the Gospel of the Sword, the 
Sword of the Spirit. I hate preaching — I don't know 
how to talk, but do as Straight did — fight as he 
fought ! " 

Then Brand took Hilda's hand before that gathering. 

The curtains of the daVs were drawn aside, and the 
priest was standing before an altar. 

" Dearly beloved," he said, " we are gathered together 
here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congre- 
gation to join together this man and this woman in 
holy matrimony." So Brand Haraldson and Hilda 
Gault were married, and had the full desire of their 
hearts. 



THE END 



Richard Clav & Sons, Limited, 

BllEAD STRBKT HILL, E.C.1 AND 
BUNGAY, SUPPOLK.